Blocking Asylum-seekers violates human rights and international asylum law


Amy Shannon: [email protected]
Yancy Nuñez: [email protected]


CHICAGO – January 25, 2019 – Beginning today, the United States will turn away asylum-seekers from U.S. ports of entry and require that they await their court dates in Mexico. The policy is a sharp break from internationally-recognized asylum law, which establishes the principle of non-refoulement, the cornerstone of refugee law, and due process guarantees for asylum seekers within the borders of the country in which they seek protection. Oscar Chacón, executive director of Alianza Americas, issued the following statement in response to the change:

“Asylum seekers are running for their lives, risking their lives—and now, they will quite literally be turned away. This new policy change is not just un-American: it is inhumane.
The Trump Administration held the government hostage for weeks over a useless border wall and now wants to close the gates and throw away the keys over a fabricated border crisis. These antics don’t make the United States exempt from international human rights law and refugee law that guarantee due process to asylum seekers. These laws have been honored and upheld by Republican and Democratic administrations for seventy years, and for good reason: They are the right thing to do. They keep us all safe, U.S. citizens and asylum seekers alike.
The Administration’s blatant disregard for human rights—and human life—has left two children dead in U.S. custody in as many months. It is responsible for the needless suffering of thousands of families, separated by “Zero Tolerance” policies, and now stalled in dangerous conditions along the US-Mexico border. Press reports have established that asylum seekers who were deported after failing to pass the credible fear interview -the first step in the asylum process- were killed a few days later in their home countries. DHS should stop trying to dismantle the asylum system that keeps us all safe.  Instead, resources should focus on making sure that no person in need of protection is forcibly returned to face violence or death.
This sealing off of America is being justified by a cherry-picking of statistics meant to dupe the American people. The fact is that unauthorized crossings at our southern border are at historic lows. The foreign-born—immigrants, refugees, and asylees alike—are far less likely to commit crimes of any sort, than individuals born in the United States. Walling off our country to the humanitarian crisis playing out in Central America doesn’t make us safe: It makes us complicit in human suffering.
Alianza Americas will continue to champion protections for migrants and security for all people of the Americas across borders, in transnational policies, and within the courts of justice in the United States of America.”

Alianza Americas is a network of 50 immigrant-led organizations representing more than 100,000 families across the United States. It is the only US-based organization rooted in Latino and Caribbean immigrant communities that works transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable way of life. Learn more at


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