Press Release: LAWG Strongly Condemns Extension of Asylum Ban, Denounces Continued Expulsions

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Lauri Alvarez, Program Assistant

May 20, 2020

LAWG Strongly Condemns  Extension of Asylum Ban, Denounces Continued Expulsions 

Washington D.C.- The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) strongly condemns the Trump Administration’s decision to extend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) border order banning access to asylum indefinitely until the CDC Director lifts the order. Since the CDC order was first implemented at the end of March, over 20,000 individuals have been expelled to Mexico or their home countries, including hundreds of unaccompanied children. The order bars the entry of asylum seekers into the United States, while other individuals, such as truck drivers and students, are allowed entry. Just two asylum seekers have been granted refuge in the United States since the order’s implementation. The order violates U.S. law as it relates to the expulsion of unaccompanied children and goes against U.S. responsibility under international law to provide protections to asylum seekers.

“Let’s be clear, extending this asylum ban is not about public health concerns, it’s about using a pandemic to shut out the most vulnerable people seeking protection at our border. The Trump Administration continues to eviscerate our asylum system. The result will be that families, men, women, and children will be sent to danger and left in limbo. We urge the administration to rescind this order immediately,” states Daniella Burgi-Palomino, LAWG’s co-director.

LAWG has monitored the conditions to which migrants are being returned in Central America. Migrants deported back to Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador during the global pandemic have been facing inadequate or unsafe quarantine measures and fragile healthcare systems, deepening poverty, severe food insecurity, societal discrimination against deportees, and repressive policing of public health measures. They are also faced with restrictions on public transportation, impacting the ability of families from meeting their relatives upon arrival, as well the ability to return to their communities before curfew.

LAWG strongly urges the Trump Administration to rescind the CDC border order, halt deportations during the pandemic, and release immigrants and asylum seekers and allow them to shelter in place with family and friends in the United States.

For more information see:

LAWG Public Comment submitted on CDC Interim Final Rule

LAWG resources on COVID-19 and its impacts on Latin America and U.S. immigration policy