In response to the Trump Administration’s announcement on access to protection at the southern border and increased detention for refugees, Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer released the following statement:
President Trump’s attempt to paint peaceful families seeking asylum as a national security threat is as absurd as it is cruel. By stating that his administration will continue to jail and punish vulnerable people seeking protection in the United States, the president is fear mongering to score political points ahead of a contentious election at the expense of people’s lives.
Incarcerating families is wrong. Holding kids in tents is cruel. Making parents choose between raising their children in jail or giving them up is unconscionable.
The men, women, and children asking for protection at our southern border are not a security threat. Many have fled horrific violence in the hopes of reaching safety in the United States, as millions of Americans have done before them. This is what America is. This country was founded as a haven for the persecuted, and that long tradition of welcome should not be debased by hateful forces who seek to scapegoat the most vulnerable among us.
The United States is more than capable of carefully processing asylum seekers who arrive at our border to determine who among them have protection claims that should allow them to live in safety and freedom in this country. Border officers have extensive tools and resources that allow them to identify any individuals seeking entry who present a danger. This is not a national emergency. It is political theater and a national disgrace.
The president’s speech today was full of lies and distortions. Asylum is not a loophole. People seeking protection are entitled to access the asylum system, regardless of where they cross the border. Furthermore, this administration has increasingly illegally turned away refugees at official border points, driving them to make the dangerous crossing between points.
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