• Press Release

The Trump administration’s asylum ban was never about public health

May 13, 2020

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images
Responding to reports that the Trump administration may indefinitely expand restrictions on the right to seek asylum and humanitarian protections at the border, Charanya Krishnaswami, the advocacy director for the Americas, said:

“This ban was never about the pandemic, and it was never about public health. As today’s news makes clear, the Trump administration is weaponizing COVID-19 to achieve the policy objective it’s sought from day one: shutting the border to people seeking safety.

“Every person has the right to seek safety, especially during a pandemic. Attempts by this administration to dismantle that basic right won’t fix the administration’s failures in responding to the pandemic early and efficiently.

“The Trump administration must end this racist and hateful policy, which has already sent thousands of people into danger and attacked the fundamental right to seek safety. Racism, xenophobia, and discrimination won’t make people in this country safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. Policies that embrace the humanity and fundamental human rights of all, will.”


This week, Amnesty International USA launched a new campaign, #RightsNow! to demand basic human rights in the COVID-19 response and recovery. From healthcare for all to freeing people in immigration detention, to addressing the terrifying spike in gun sales and fighting for a just recovery, it’s a campaign demanding that President Trump and Congress put human rights at the center of the COVID-19 response. COVID-19 has exposed the fault lines in our society we already knew existed, but it has also challenged us to see what could be when the pandemic ends. The RightsNow! Campaign is about embracing that challenge, and demanding a society that commits to basic human rights—access to equitable health care, adequate food and shelter, safety and a livelihood. RightsNow! is not just about surviving this pandemic – it’s about creating a new future where all of us can live in dignity and thrive.

People can donate to Amnesty International USA’s COVID-19 advocacy work here: https://donate.amnestyusa.org/page/57034/donate

To schedule an interview, contact Mariya Parodi, [email protected].