Immigrants' Rights Are Human Rights
"Migration concerns us all and no State can escape from its obligations under international human rights law to protect and ensure respect for the human rights of migrants, irrespective of their migration status." -- François Crépeau, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants
All immigrants, irrespective of their legal status, have human rights. While states have the right to regulate the entry and stay of non-nationals in their territory, they can only do so within the limits of their human rights obligations. The U.S. government must ensure that its laws, policies and practices do not place immigrants at an increased risk of human rights abuses. Amnesty International's new report, In Hostile Terrain: Human Rights Violations in Immigration Enforcement in the US Southwest (English) or (Spanish) shows that the United States is failing in its obligations under international human rights law to ensure these rights.
USA: Hostile Terrain?
Amnesty International's report on immigrants' rights makes the following key findings:
- Recent immigration policy in certain border areas has pushed undocumented immigrants into using dangerous routes through the US desert; hundreds of people die each year as a result.
- Immigration enforcement in the USA is a federal responsibility. Federal immigration officials are increasingly working in collaboration with state and local law enforcement agencies but improper oversight of state and local law enforcement has led to increased racial profiling.
- Increasingly, state laws and local policies are creating barriers to immigrants accessing their basic human rights, including rights to education and essential health care services. While these laws are targeting non-citizens, these policies are also impacting US citizen children.
- Recent legislation enacted or proposed in several states targets immigrant communities and places them, Indigenous communities and other minority communities at risk of discrimination.
- Immigrant communities also face a range of barriers to justice when they are victims of crime such as human trafficking, domestic violence or bias crimes.
- The implementation of immigration enforcement measures along the border has also impacted the rights of Indigenous communities, whose traditional lands lie on both sides of the US-Mexico border.