Washington, DC (November 9, 2018) Today, the Trump Administration announced sweeping changes to the asylum system, blocking people who enter the U.S. between ports of entry from seeking asylum. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization that has worked with migrants and refugees for over 100 years, spoke out against the announcement.
“The government’s cruel attempt to limit the ability of individuals taking refuge in our country to seek asylum flies in the face of both international and U.S. law and will be challenged in the federal courts,” said Nicole Polley Miller, Legal Services Director for AFSC’s Immigrant Rights Program in Newark, NJ.
The announcement is the latest in a series of attacks from the Trump Administration on migrants and refugees, and invokes the same powers the president used to institute the Muslim ban.
“We call on the U.S. government to respect the human right to migrate and seek asylum,” said AFSC policy advocacy coordinator Kathryn Johnson. “People fleeing violence and persecution in Central America should be able to present themselves to immigration authorities to express their fears, not be criminalized, detained, and turned away.” Johnson is currently in southern Mexico accompanying a caravan of migrants traveling towards the United States.
The organization further called for changes to the immigration system that would welcome migrants with compassion and humanity. “AFSC calls for an immediate end to the detention and deportation of immigrants,” said AFSC Human Migration and Mobility program director Kristin Kumpf. “Detention and deportation places immigrants in inhumane conditions, and subjects them to enforcement systems that do not provide fair hearings or protect due process. It is crucial to instead protect those seeking refuge, and to provide services and direct assistance to migrating people.”
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.