USA: President Trump must abandon plan to close southern border to Central Americans seeking asylum

In response to reports that President Trump plans to take executive action blocking refugees and people seeking asylum from Central America from entering the United States to request protection, Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

“The Trump administration is defying international law and manufacturing a crisis at the border by proposing policies that would cause catastrophic and irreparable harm to thousands of families who had no choice but to leave home in order to keep their children safe from harm.”

The Trump administration is defying international law and manufacturing a crisis at the border by proposing policies that would cause catastrophic and irreparable harm to thousands of families who had no choice but to leave home in order to keep their children safe from harm
Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

“President Trump has shown callous disregard for the plight of those making this dangerous journey from Honduras and other Central American countries. His administration must stop waging a deliberate campaign of human rights violations against people seeking safety and immediately recognize that everyone has the right, under US and international law, to seek protection.”

Amnesty International USA executive director Margaret Huang added:

“Banning people from seeking asylum would be a direct violation of national and international law and put lives in danger. It would be the culmination of years of hateful policies criminalizing families seeking protection and would throw desperate people back into harm’s way.”

“The people whose lives are endangered by this unspeakably cruel proposal are simply not national security threats. They are people just like you and me, except many have been forced to run for their lives from violence and persecution. All they are asking for is a chance to seek safety. They deserve our compassion, not our contempt.”

The people whose lives are endangered by this unspeakably cruel proposal are simply not national security threats. They are people just like you and me, except many have been forced to run for their lives from violence and persecution
Margaret Huang, Executive director at Amnesty International USA

Yesterday, an Amnesty International delegation toured a tent city that has hosted thousands of immigrant children in Tornillo, Texas, including asylum-seeking children. This week, Amnesty International also sent a delegation to observe the caravan of asylum seekers and refugees at the border of Mexico and Guatemala, and document both the response of the authorities in both countries.

“What we witnessed in the Tornillo tent city only highlights the vast tragedy that has already occurred in the United States,” said Huang, who was part of the delegation. “US authorities must act immediately to speed the release of over 1,100 children currently detained there for longer than is legally allowed. We must not continue to fail them by allowing these dangerous proposals to become policy.”

These visits come a few weeks after the launch of the organization’s new report revealing the dangerous human consequences of illegal border pushbacks by the Trump administration, and that the number of families separated at the border is much higher than previously disclosed.

Additionally, Amnesty International is mobilizing its millions of members and supporters around the world to take action, including by engaging online with public comments on proposed regulations that would allow children to be detained indefinitely rather than placing them with relatives or sponsors in the USA.

Migrant caravan in the southern border of Mexico, 2018