Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

Opinion | A Human Rights Crisis at the Border

To the Editor:

Re “A Gamble Fails, Overcrowding Migrant Shelters” (front page, Jan. 5):

The Trump administration is committing flagrant human rights violations by deliberately making the legal process of obtaining asylum unnecessarily unbearable and drawn out.

There is no doubt that there is a human rights crisis at the border, but it is largely a crisis of the administration’s own making. Our own research shows that in some instances, American officials have gone so far as to falsely tell people that they couldn’t seek asylum even at designated ports of entry, in violation of both United States and international law.

By slowing the processing of applications to a crawl and imposing overly burdensome administrative measures, the situation has become untenable both for families waiting to apply for asylum, and for unaccompanied children trapped in limbo even when they are allowed entry.

Last autumn I saw for myself the warehousing of thousands of children in a tent city in Texas, essentially jailed for months under the supervision of staff members who had not been thoroughly vetted rather than being reunited with waiting family members and sponsors.

Rather than investing in divisive symbols of hatred like the wall, the administration should be investing in fair immigration and asylum policies that value human rights.

Margaret L. Huang
The writer is executive director of Amnesty International USA.

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