In advance of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee conducting a hearing, “Oversight of U.S. Customs and Border Protection”, Amnesty International USA submitted the below statement for the record.
In October and November of this year, Amnesty International sent a team of researchers to Tijuana, Mexico and the San Ysidro port of entry, where they interviewed asylum-seekers who have been illegally turned away by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection officials and are consequently being forced to wait for over a month in dangerous conditions in northern Mexico. By turning away asylum-seekers at the border without registering and processing their asylum claims, U.S. border authorities are regularly violating both U.S. and international law.
We have urged all Members of the Judiciary Committee to demand that CBP and DHS:
- Immediately stop turning away asylum-seekers at the US–Mexico border, both at and between official ports-of-entry.
- Bolster CBP capacity as necessary to receive immediately all asylum claims presented at U.S. ports of-entry.
- Halt negotiations with Mexico for a “safe third country agreement.”
- Discontinue all plans and actions that would require asylum-seekers at the US–Mexico border to wait in Mexico during pendency of their asylum claims.