Americas: US and Mexican authorities must respect caravan participants’ right to seek asylum

US and Mexican authorities must stop demonizing participants of the caravan from Central America and respect their fundamental right to seek asylum, said Amnesty International today, ahead of their expected arrival at the border between both countries later this week.

“Seeking asylum is not a crime in the USA or anywhere. The efforts of US officials to tarnish asylum seekers as criminals are cynical fabrications that ring hollow,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

Seeking asylum is not a crime in the USA or anywhere. The efforts of US officials to tarnish asylum seekers as criminals are cynical fabrications that ring hollow
Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International

“Threatening to indefinitely detain, prosecute, and deport these asylum seekers is a cruel effort to stigmatize, terrify and push away traumatized people, many of whom have already given up everything to flee desperate circumstances in their home countries.”

Amnesty International has received reports that in recent days Mexican immigration officials have detained and sought to deport Central American families from the caravan who planned to claim asylum in the USA.

On 23 April, the US Department of Homeland Security also issued a vindictive statement calling the asylum seekers from the caravan criminals and threatening to detain them indefinitely until they could send them back to their countries of origin.

The several hundred asylum seekers in the caravan who are reportedly planned to seek refuge in the USA represent a tiny fraction of the total number of asylum seekers present in the country. President Trump has nonetheless cited the caravan as his motive for deploying the National Guard along the border with Mexico.

“As the world copes with the highest numbers of refugees since World War Two, the appropriate response is to welcome refugees – not insult them and return them to peril. Pushing asylum seekers back into dangerous situations would be a violation of both the national and international legal obligations of the US and Mexican governments.”

Pushing asylum seekers back into dangerous situations would be a violation of both the national and international legal obligations of the US and Mexican governments
Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International