The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) denounces the new interim final rule announced by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security today, which will deny asylum to those seeking protection at our southern border if they do not first apply for asylum from a third country while en route to the United States. This new rule will effectively slam the door on asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, including unaccompanied children traveling alone, and marks yet another shameful attempt by the Trump Administration to rewrite our immigration laws and turn its back on refugees.
The new rule will essentially relocate the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border further south, shifting responsibility to countries that are less well-resourced than the United States and ill-equipped to address the urgent needs of asylum seekers. The Trump Administration attempts to justify the rule by noting that all Central American countries, as well as Mexico, are parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Refugee Protocol. However, having signed on to the Convention or the Protocol does not guarantee a robust and fair asylum system that upholds the principles of those human rights treaties and ensures adequate protection for those fleeing life-threatening violence.
Individuals seeking asylum at the southern border typically pass through Mexico and one or more of the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. These countries are experiencing unprecedented levels of gang- and gender-related violence that have forced thousands of women, children, and families to flee their homes. The governments of these countries have failed to protect their own citizens and certainly do not have the capacity to offer safe haven to asylum seekers fleeing persecution in neighboring countries. In fact, migrants are particularly vulnerable to violence and poverty in Mexico and the Northern Triangle. Asylum seekers stranded in Mexico under the Trump Administration’s forced return and metering policies have been kidnapped and assaulted by cartels, and many have become homeless.
CGRS Gender Asylum Campaign Director Kate Jastram said today:
“Women and children fleeing persecution are not required to seek asylum in the first country in which they set foot. In fact, our laws make it clear that individuals may apply for asylum regardless of where they enter the United States and how they get there. The new interim final rule is blatantly illegal and will endanger the very lives of those who seek protection at our border. Instead of abdicating our moral and legal responsibilities to refugees, the United States should advance real solutions that address the humanitarian challenges in our region.”
Melanie notation: This @WhiteHouse, @VP and @Republicans with this racist xenophobic @POTUS – evidenced by his latest tweet storm – ought to be ashamed of the havoc and unconscionable human rights abuses that are so flagrantly helming this administration.
Posted by MELANIE NATHAN