Statement by Eric Schwartz, President of Refugees International, on President Trump’s remarks on immigration:
“The President’s statements about the migrant caravan are despicable.
The efforts of individuals to seek asylum in the United States represent a policy challenge, but not a national security crisis. The president has willfully and cynically vilified an asylum-seeker population composed of vulnerable children, women, and men. His statements about the asylum-seeker population are breathtaking in their willful inaccuracies, and conflict with information and statistics from within his own administration.
In the aftermath of the Holocaust—and the failure to protect Jews fleeing Nazi persecution—governments of the world adopted the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. That Convention and its Protocol, ratified by the United States, specifies that those fleeing persecution, even if they have entered a country between ports of entry, have the right to seek asylum—and should not be punished for such entry if they present themselves to authorities and show good cause for their unauthorized presence.
In his cruel and cynical action today, the president has effectively rejected that fundamental principle that has served as a cornerstone of the policies of the U.S. government for decades. It is a sad day for our country.”
Earlier this week, RI sent a policy memo to the president on the caravan issue, correcting the president’s intentionally misleading rhetoric, and offering a responsible approach to safeguard U.S. values and U.S. interests in responding to this humanitarian challenge.