Trump Administration Rule Blocks Access to Protection for Refugees

New York City—In response to the Trump Administration’s new rule that would limit access to asylum to those who cross the southern border at official border points, Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer issued the following statement:

The rule introduced today is the latest shameful tactic in a years-long campaign to vilify and punish those who seek protection in this country. It is a cruel abandonment of this nation’s legacy as a haven for the persecuted. The refugees seeking protection at our southern border are not a security threat; they are brave men, women, and children who have fled horrific violence and persecution in the hopes of living in this country in freedom and dignity. This is the story of America, and we will not allow President Trump and the anti-immigrant voices in the White House to make a mockery of our nation’s ideals.

For two years this administration has systematically undermined the asylum and refugee protection systems. It has illegally turned away refugees at official border points, forcing desperate individuals to make the dangerous crossing between points. Seeking asylum is not a crime, and people are entitled to seek  asylum regardless of where they cross the border. This plan would, it appears, attempt to separate refugee families, return some with well-founded fears to their countries of persecution, and leave others in a perpetual state of limbo with no stable legal status here.

President Trump’s scheme violates refugee treaties, and is a convoluted attempt to rewrite the laws enacted by Congress to protect those seeking asylum. This country is more than capable of safely processing asylum seekers to determine who among them have protection claims. Border officers already have extensive tools and resources that allow them to identify any individuals seeking entry who present a danger.

Today’s action is a violation of our American ideals, a violation of the constitution, and it will not stand up in court.


Published on November 8, 2018


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