Trump Immigration Speech Latest in Campaign to Gut Asylum System

Washington, D.C.—In response to President Trump’s speech on immigration, Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer issued the following statement:

In today’s speech on immigration, President Trump took yet another swipe at people seeking refuge, dismissing their requests for protection as “frivolous.” While the speech did not detail any new asylum plans, he was most likely referring to the White House’s long standing wish-list of changes to eliminate protections for children and families seeking protection.

For the last two years the administration has pushed policy after policy designed to gut the U.S. refugee and asylum systems.  This plan apparently offers more of the same.

The Trump Administration is failing to effectively manage refugee protection requests at our border, and is exacerbating the regional humanitarian crisis through its cruel and counterproductive policies. This is a political fiasco of this administration’s own making. But instead of responding with humane solutions that address the very real problems that are pushing people to seek refuge, President Trump is cruelly playing politics with people’s lives.

Separating families is not the solution. Incarcerating refugees does nothing to make America safer. Forcing vulnerable asylum seekers to wait in dangerous circumstances in Mexico makes a mockery of our nation’s proud history of protecting the persecuted.

If President Trump is such an excellent manager, surely he can figure out a humane way to process refugees at our southern border in a timely, fair, and safe manner.

Human Rights First, one of the nation’s largest providers of pro bono asylum representation, urges the Trump Administration to immediately:

  • Restore timely asylum processing at ports of entry;
  • Launch an actual case management system and adequately staff asylum adjudications with trained asylum officers and immigration judges;
  • Support—rather than cut—aid to effective programs that reduce violence and other factors pushing people to flee; and,
  • Increase support for expanded asylum and refugee-hosting capacity in Mexico and other countries.



Published on May 16, 2019


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