United States

UN Dispatch Podcast: The Trump Administration’s Assault on Refugees and Asylum Seekers Enters a New Phase

Since taking office the Trump administration has taken unprecedented steps to sharply reduce both the number of refugees who are resettled in the United States and also the number of people who can claim asylum.

This has included significantly lowering what is known as the “ceiling” on refugee admissions to the smallest number ever and placing onerous restrictions on exactly who can be admitted as a refugee. Meanwhile, the administration is implementing several policies of dubious legality that would effectively make it impossible for people entering the southern US border to claim asylum.

The Trump administration’s restrictive policies toward refugees and asylum seekers are reaching a new phase.

In this episode one of the world’s leading experts on refugee and asylum policies is on the line to both discuss the mechanics of what the Trump administration is doing.

Eric Schwartz is the president of Refugees International and also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration in the Obama administration. He has deep experience working on humanitarian and refugee issues, which he summons in our conversation to help put this administration’s assault on refugees and asylum seekers in context.

We also discuss the very real global implications of the fact that the United States can not be meaningfully relied on to advocate for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers around the world.

If you have 20 minutes and want to learn the implications of the Trump administration’s increasingly hostile approach to refugees and asylum, have a listen.

The White House Wants To Send Asylum Seekers To Guatemala. This is Probably Illegal

The White House Wants To Send Asylum Seekers To Guatemala. This is Probably Illegal

In a particularly egregious violation of law and common decency, the Trump White House is pressing U.S. diplomats to negotiate a “safe third country agreement” with Guatemala. If implemented, it will put the lives of thousands of Central Americans at great risk. Alarmed, Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, took the unusual step of writing a letter to the State Department’s top acting lawyer, urging he and his office cease involvement in efforts to secure the agreement. 

Refugees International President: Trump's Guatemala Plan 'An Astonishing Distortion of U.S. Asylum Law'

Refugees International President: Trump's Guatemala Plan 'An Astonishing Distortion of U.S. Asylum Law'

It is unconscionable and inhumane for the United States of America to force Guatemala to agree to being a ‘safe third country,’ and, thus, a haven for Central American asylum seekers when, in truth, it is nothing of the sort.

Refugees International President Slams Expansion of "Remain in Mexico" Policy

Refugees International President Slams Expansion of "Remain in Mexico" Policy

Refugees International President Eric Schwartz says agreement extending the “Remain in Mexico” policy “is wicked and immoral because it deliberately imposes grave risks upon highly vulnerable children, women, and men in violation of the most fundamental principles of decency.”

Abused, Blamed, and Refused: Protection Denied to Women and Children Trafficked Over the U.S. Southern Border

Abused, Blamed, and Refused: Protection Denied to Women and Children Trafficked Over the U.S. Southern Border

The Trump administration asserts that its policies at the U.S. southern border are designed to protect women and children from traffickers. However, its actions tell a very different story. Yael Schacher paints a scathing picture of how the administration is rolling back protections for victims of trafficking that have been established over the last decade.

Primer for Members of the 116th Congress on  International Humanitarian Assistance

Primer for Members of the 116th Congress on  International Humanitarian Assistance

Refugees International’s primer for members of the 116th Congress on international humanitarian assistance provides background on the proud, bipartisan tradition of U.S. leadership in humanitarian affairs, the value of U.S. investment in humanitarian and development funding, and the humanitarian imperative of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and outlines several key priority areas for policymakers. 

Refugees International and 30 Organizations Call on Congress to Prioritize Funding for the State, Foreign Operations Bill

Refugees International and 30 Organizations Call on Congress to Prioritize Funding for the State, Foreign Operations Bill

Refugees International joins 30 other international, implementing, and advocacy nonprofit organizations in respectfully request that in FY 2020 Congress prioritizes funding for the State, Foreign Operations bill and provide a 302(b) allocation of at least $57.4 billion. Within this increase, we ask that Congress appropriates meaningful increases for good governance programs and poverty-focused development and humanitarian programs.

Refugees International Joins 76 Organizations Calling on Congress to Oppose Protection Rollbacks for Asylum Seekers

Refugees International Joins 76 Organizations Calling on Congress to Oppose Protection Rollbacks for Asylum Seekers

Refugees International and 76 other organizations call on Congress in an advocacy letter to oppose any legislation that would expand the scale or length of immigrant family detention, overturn the child protection policies and laws currently governing the treatment of migrant children in custody, or undermine asylum protections. 

Congress Urged to Resist Massive Cuts in U.S. Humanitarian Aid

Congress Urged to Resist Massive Cuts in U.S. Humanitarian Aid

In a letter, over 50 former national security and foreign policy officials, as well as leaders in the NGO community, called upon Congress to resist administration proposals to dramatically cut U.S. humanitarian assistance. The letter also urges the Congress to protect the key role of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).