SUPPORT THE HUMAN RIGHT TO SEEK ASYLUM AT THE US BORDER
Last week the Trump Administration instituted a policy that bars all individuals who transited through another country, such as Mexico or Guatemala, before arriving at the U.S. southern border the right to file asylum in the US. This new policy is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to close our doors to asylum seekers from Central America, Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti and African countries. A significant number are survivors of torture, gang or cartel violence, or LGBT persecution. Turning these survivors away at the border could mean a death sentence when they return to their home country.
The rule, effective immediately, bypassed the mandated open comment period. It amends federal regulations to bar from asylum those people, including children, who present themselves at the southern border without first being denied asylum in a third country (such as Mexico or Guatemala) en route to the United States. An asylum plea at the border is no long enough. They now need to be denied by Mexico or Guatemala first, a process which could keep them in a dangerous environment for years.
The Trump administration continues to claim that the humanitarian crisis at the border is caused by smugglers bringing economic migrants. This fully ignores the fact that the majority of individuals are not economic migrants but refugees fleeing escalated gang violence, murder and faltering rule of law in their home countries.
We believe the new policy violates both domestic and international law. The Immigration and Nationality Act, instituted by Congress, states that a third safe country must be capable of processing asylum seekers and must present no risk of similar violence or persecution to asylum seekers. Neither Mexico nor Guatemala meet these basic levels of judicial processing or safety. Hundreds of asylum seekers were attacked, robbed, kidnapped or raped in Mexico and Guatemala in the last year.
What can you do?
The public has 30 days to provide comment. You can voice your opinion on how this inhumane new policy will affect vulnerable asylum seekers from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Venezuela, Cuba and Africa. The legality of the rule is being challenged in Federal Court.
The Program for Torture Victims (PTV) assists the courageous survivors of torture or persecution who have stood up for freedom, equality and human dignity. Since 1980, PTV has helped new US refugees from over 70 countries heal their physical and psychological wounds and start a second life in California.
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