We all want to live in a world where we look after each other, and everyone is treated with dignity, respect, and fairness.
Those seeking safety want the same thing any of us would want if we were in their shoes. Together, we can respond with compassion and respect for the people who arrive at our borders. Join us.
Amnesty International is the world’s largest human rights grassroots movement offering research, government advocacy, human rights education and activism to change the narrative so everyone can live free of violence and fear.
Total number of refugees in the world
Proportion of refugees worldwide who are under the age of 18
Less than 1% of refugees will ever have access to resettlement as a durable solution
Number of refugees the U.S. may admit in 2020, as determined by President Trump
Number of people who signed Amnesty International’s petition to the U.N. demanding that countries do more to help refugees
Malik Aziz, Sana, and their two sons fled from Baghdad to Beirut in 2013 fearing for their lives after being threatened and attacked for their Christian faith. They were approved for resettlement to the U.S. in 2016, but since the Muslim ban was signed in 2017, their case has been stuck into limbo and they’ve been stranded in Beirut, where they’re at risk of forcible return to Iraq.
They were finally told they would be able to resettle in Michigan in September 2019, but at the last minute, their case was thrown back into review yet again and their lives into uncertainty.
We’re demanding the U.S. government keep its promise to the Aziz family and expedite their cases so they can finally find safety and be welcomed by their family here in the U.S.
Astrid and her father Arturo are Indigenous K’iche who fled from Guatemala and put in detention when they arrived at the U.S. border in 2015. Released the next day, they began rebuilding their lives in Pennsylvania. Three years later, armed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents ripped them from their home in the middle of the night, without warning or warrant, and locked them up in immigration detention.
Astrid turned 15-years-old behind bars and missed the quinceañera celebration she had been eagerly planning. Her birthday wish was to be freed from detention with her father and return to middle school.
Despite having applied for asylum, Arturo and his daughter were detained for over a month. Our supporters all around the world heard their story, and quickly mobilized to make Astrid’s wish come true. After more than 1,600 phone calls and 78,000 signed petitions to the government, Astrid and Arturo were released from Berks, and she was able to return to school, where she was in the eighth grade.
Sadat fled from homophobic attacks in Ghana in November 2015 after being beaten by members of a criminal group, who also reportedly burned down his house and beat his uncle. In January 2016, Sadat requested asylum in the U.S. and was held for over two-and-a-half years in immigration detention, where he went on hunger strikes in protest of the poor conditions he endured.
Amnesty International and other organizations mobilized in his support, sending thousands of actions by Amnesty supporters to immigration authorities. Just a few days later, the request to release Sadat on parole was granted and he was freed.
Sadat shared, “I want to say a BIG THANKS to the team, undocblack, Amnesty International and everyone who love and supported me.”
Astrid and her father Arturo are Indigenous K’iche who fled from Guatemala, where discrimination and violence against this community is institutionalized and widespread. They arrived at the U.S. border in 2015 and were put in detention. They were released the next day and began rebuilding their lives in Pennsylvania. Three years later, armed government agents ripped them from their home in the middle of the night, without warning or warrant, and locked them up in immigration detention.
Astrid turned 15-years-old behind bars. She missed her quinceañera celebration, which she had been eagerly planning. Her birthday wish was to be freed from detention with her father and return to middle school.
Despite having applied for asylum, Arturo and his daughter were detained for over a month. Our supporters all around the world heard their story, and quickly mobilized to make Astrid’s wish come true. After more than 1,600 phone calls and 78,000 signed petitions to the government, Astrid and Arturo were released from Berks, and she was able to return to school where she is in the eighth-grade.
In 2017, four young children and mothers seeking asylum in the U.S. had spent nearly two years jailed in the Berks family detention center. Each family fled traumatic and life-threatening events, including kidnapping threats and severe sexual violence, in their home countries of Honduras and El Salvador.
Despite reporting declining physical and medical health, they were imprisoned for almost 700 days. Three-year-old Josue suffered from severe allergies, and learned to walk and talk behind bars. Others were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
After Amnesty International activists all over the world took action, these children and mothers were finally freed in August.
But the battle doesn’t end here. No child should grow up behind bars, and new families continue to be locked up every day at Berks and other detention sites.
Ahmed Amari, Amina, and their four young children were forced to flee from the war in Syria in 2013 and in 2016, the U.S. accepted them for resettlement. They gave away many of their belongings and prepared to travel to the U.S. in January 2017. But they were left in jeopardy after the first Muslim ban went into effect, and as a result of delays caused by successive Muslim and refugee bans and additional security screening procedures, they were stranded in Beirut.
Amnesty International launched an action to the U.S. government demanding it expedite the review of their case, and shared the Amari family’s story in the media and with members of Congress.
Finally, in July, they were resettled to their new home in Virginia. All four children are now in school and have big dreams – the oldest aspires to be a fashion designer when she grows up, while the other two daughters hope to be doctors. The youngest wishes to be a fireman.
Following last year’s uproar over the forced separation of thousands of parents and kids, President Trump signed a deceptive executive order. Instead of separating them, the Trump Administration said they would stay together – jailed in family detention.
37 mothers who were ripped apart from their children when they came to the U.S. seeking safety were finally reunited when, in a cruel turn of events, they were thrown back behind bars and held in indefinite detention at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
In October 2018, Amnesty International joined forces with the American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Dilley Pro Bono Project to call on ICE to release these families from prolonged detention at Dilley.
Two months later, all the families were freed. After spending months behind bars, the dozens of children were able to play in the park, go to school, and live their lives in freedom while their asylum applications were being processed.
Every day, all over the world, people are forced to leave their homes in search of safety someplace else. They are forced to flee to escape persecution and torture or other severe human rights abuses, armed conflict and horrific violence. They might have been targeted because of who they are, what they do, who they love, or what they believe. For example, for their ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, or political opinions. Often, they are permanently displaced and are never able to return home.
President Donald Trump has continued to cut the U.S. refugee admissions number to historic lows, most recently setting the number of refugees to be admitted in Fiscal Year 2020 to 18,000, the lowest number in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program since it was established in 1980.
He has also signed an Executive Order that would allow state and local jurisdictions to deny refugees to be resettled in their community, despite having been approved for resettlement and having a community waiting to receive them.
Even though the majority of people in the United States support welcoming refugees, the Trump Administration has cruelly stripped away our most cherished values of welcome. Through the Longer Table Initiative, Amnesty International USA and its supporters have been working to stand with refugees and welcome them through community sponsorship and other initiatives.
Asylum-seekers have the same rights as all other human beings – to seek safety and to receive a fair process. Yet, people seeking asylum in the U.S. are turned away when they ask for safety at the southern border or even deported without ever even having their claims heard in an immigration court. They are forced to return to countries where they may be tortured, imprisoned, or even killed.
Others are sometimes held in detention without easy access to attorneys or charged with crimes for entering the country to ask for asylum. Children might be jailed, either with their parents or forcibly separated from their families for indefinite periods of time. Secretive tent courts place people in danger simply for the act of seeking safety in the U.S.
Asylum agreements with third countries force people to seek safety in countries where they will not be safe and asylum bans limit people’s ability to even ask for asylum. The so-called ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy forces people seeking safety as well as migrants to wait indefinitely in Mexico, in dangerous conditions and without easy access to lawyers as they fight for their asylum cases.
Through executive orders and policies, the Trump administration has been working to make seeking safety in the United States as hard as possible, if not impossible. Current policies are based on fear-mongering, racism, hatred, and xenophobia instead of humanity and compassion. U.S. policies cannot continue to punish asylum-seekers for exercising the rights that they have – join us and stand against these policies.