Statement on Sessions’ Unconscionable Move to Put Asylum Further Out of Reach of Those Who Desperately Need It

PRESS STATEMENT

For Immediate Release

Statement on Sessions’ Unconscionable Move to Put Asylum Further Out of Reach of Those Who Desperately Need It

Sara McElmurry: 312-351-3890 or smcelmurry@alianzaamericas.org

CHICAGO—June 11, 2018—Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced his reversal of a Justice Department decision in a high-profile “Matter of A-B-” case, a move that will further restrict access to asylum for many groups, including victims of gang and domestic violence. The announcement comes just weeks after the implementation of a controversial “Zero Tolerance” policy that criminalizes asylum seekers and other migrants and separated more than 650 children from their parents in two weeks in May alone. In response to today’s announcement, Oscar Chacón, executive director of Alianza Americas, issued the following statement:

“Asylum is an internationally-protected human right recognized by governments across the globe. Yet today’s announcement demonstrates the Trump Administration’s repeated disregard for the United States’ responsibilities to individuals—especially women, families, and children— seeking refuge from horrific violence.

People who arrive at our border to seek safety break no laws. Yet over the course of the last month, this administration has criminalized them, torn apart families, and now, with today’s decision, put asylum even further out of reach of those who desperately need it. US taxpayers are bankrolling this entire cruel operation, played out in for-profit detention centers, at the cost of $2 billion annually.

This course of events is utterly unconscionable and wholly un-American—and has been largely waged as a misguided response to a troubling reality: An uptick in people, mostly children and families from Central America, arriving at our border citing a “credible fear” of returning to their home countries. It is no coincidence that the “Matter of A-B-” case was based on the asylum claim of a woman from El Salvador who had been raped and abused by her husband.

Mr. Sessions’ assertion that the increase in asylum claims is an “abuse” of the US immigration system is yet another example of this administration’s continuous disregard for the truth. Instead, the growing numbers are driven by the horrific on-the-ground realities—including shocking femicide rates and levels of homicide that rival those in war zones —documented by numerous organizations, including Alianza Americas.

While this administration is focused on punishing people fleeing for their lives, it is missing an important opportunity to responsibly and humanely address migration: Turn the $2 billion currently spent on immigration detention into investments in infrastructure, democratic institutions, economic equity, and access to justice in Central America. Alianza Americas echoes the growing call for the US government to keep families together, respect the rights of people to seek asylum, and invest taxpayers’ money in programs that benefit our communities. We will also continue the struggle to enable families to live safely and with dignity in their countries of origin.”

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 alianzaamericas.org.

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