A planned Trump administration agreement with El Salvador that would force asylum seekers to seek refuge there instead of the United States will further endanger vulnerable women, men, and children.
“This is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to bar people, especially from Central America, from seeking protection in the United States from violence and persecution. It is also another attempt by the administration to brazenly circumvent existing law. We hope this asylum ban will last only as long as the legal fight against it continues in the courts.”
Just ahead of August 25, the day that marks two years since the Myanmar military launched a brutal and cruel campaign of violence against the Rohingya people, forcing more than 700,000 to flee, the government of Bangladesh planned to repatriate 3,450 Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar. However, this exercise fell apart when Rohingya refugees refused to participate.
In response to the passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee of the so-called Secure and Protect Act of 2019, Refugees International's Senior U.S. Advocate Yael Schacher condemns it. She goes on to describe how it weakens protections for asylum seekers and flouts the United States’ national refugee and immigration legislation.
Today's announcement that the Trump Administration has reached a “safe third country” agreement with Guatemala is very alarming. As Refugees International has previously stated, Guatemala is in no way safe for refugees and asylum seekers, and all the strong-arming in the world won’t make it so.
Sanctioning the highest levels of Myanmar’s military is an incredibly important if belated step. Although the sanctions are limited to travel restrictions, the move signifies that Washington is finally getting serious about accountability. It also acknowledges what the State Department itself has documented – that ethnic cleansing has taken place in Myanmar with virtual impunity.
Countries throughout the Americas are facing significant migration and refugee challenges. As human mobility increases, governments must commit to respond. Together with organizations from throughout the region, Refugees International has formed the Coalition on Human Mobility in the Americas, to elevate the matter before the Organization of American States 49th General Assembly. In its statement, presented on June 26, 2019, the Coalition highlighted four key priorities.
Refugees International President Eric Schwartz comments on the tragic image of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria from El Salvador whose deaths are the inevitable result of inhumane and unconscionable policies that prevent people from seeking asylum in safety and dignity.
The stories we are publishing today in observance of World Refugee Day are powerful examples of individuals who have overcome obstacles thrust upon them through no fault of their own. They arrived in their places of refuge or resettlement unsure and often alone, and have thrived as writers, musicians, social workers, advocates, and more. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, sons, friends—and neighbors.