• Press Release

Trump’s cruel plans to block people seeking protection must not stand

November 1, 2018

Migrants seeking for asylum in the United States await near the US-Mexico border at El Chaparral crossing in Tijuana, Mexico on May 7, 2017. (Photo by GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)
In response to President Trump’s plans to implement restrictive policies to limit the rights of migrants, refugees, and people seeking asylum from Central America, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo issued this statement:

“Seeking asylum is a fundamental human right. I would like to remind President Trump that US law states very clearly that it does not matter where or how people seeking safe haven enter the country – they are allowed to apply for asylum. His intentions to limit the rights of those seeking asylum are against those laws and the USA’s international obligations.

“Right now, mothers, fathers, and children are enduring a terrible and arduous journey because they urgently need to find safe haven from violence and persecution. Instead of demonizing them, I urge President Trump to think about why anyone would leave their home and embark on such a journey, if they were not afraid for their lives.

“Far from being a national security threat, people walking to the border are doing so in the hope of being able to live in a country that claims to cherish human rights and aspires to uphold them. President Trump and his administration must not shut the door to vulnerable families from Central America and other regions of the world. The lives of thousands of people are at stake.”

Amnesty International USA’s executive director Margaret Huang added:

“Once again, President Trump has revealed his deep cruelty toward people who are only trying to rebuild their lives in safety. It is against international law to turn people away for seeking protection from violence and persecution. Mothers, fathers, children, and others have every right to request asylum between ports of entry.

“It is also deeply inhumane and unlawful to indefinitely detain families, particularly babies and children, in tent cities. Recently on a tour of the tent city in Tornillo, Texas, I saw firsthand what happens when people seeking protection are treated inhumanely and criminalized for doing what any one of us would do in their shoes. This is part of President Trump’s larger efforts to demonize families seeking safety at the border.

“We reject these vicious policies. People seeking protection deserve our compassion, not our contempt. Threatening desperate people with excessive force is horrifying and unlawful. The U.S. government must abide by international law and welcome people seeking safety into the country while their asylum claims are being reviewed.”

Earlier this month, Amnesty International released a report finding that U.S. border authorities regularly violated both domestic and international law by turning away asylum-seekers at the border without registering or determining their claims.