Human Rights First to Assist Asylum Seekers in “Caravan” Arriving at Border
Los Angeles, California—As a caravan of Central American refugees and migrants makes its way to the U.S. southern border, Human Rights First today announced that it will partner with law firms to provide guidance to those who seek asylum in the United States. Many of the individuals arriving at the border are fleeing violence and persecution in search of refuge and did not feel safe remaining in Mexico. At least one hundred individuals are expected to seek asylum at the U.S. border in Tijuana by the end of the month.
“Seeking asylum is a legal act. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has waged a year-long campaign to undermine asylum seekers and demonize those whose only wish is to live in safety with their families. We’re proud to assist these individuals who are fleeing unspeakable horror as they try to rebuild their lives,” said Human Rights First’s Jenna Gilbert.
Since news of the caravan was first reported, the administration has launched a PR campaign to manufacture a crisis at the southern border in an attempt to push forward policies that will limit access to protection. This raises concerns that asylum seekers may be turned away from the border, referred for criminal prosecutions, detained regardless of their individual circumstances, and rushed through screening or asylum proceedings without sufficient time to gather necessary evidence or secure legal representation.
When refugee families arrive at the border this week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will detain them. These individuals will then need to demonstrate that they have a credible or reasonable fear of persecution if deported to their country-of-origin. For asylum seekers, passing a credible fear interview is a difficult hurdle, and only the first of many in the long journey toward protection.
Human Rights First, along with pro bono partners, will assist these newly-arriving Central American families in lawfully seeking refuge in the United States. To ensure that those who seek asylum in the United States are aware of their rights while in ICE detention, Human Rights First will provide guidance on the asylum process, including the credible fear interview and “know your rights” information to “caravan” affiliated asylum seekers in ICE custody. Individuals who wish to receive legal assistance once in U.S. immigration detention will be instructed to call the organization’s hotline by human rights groups in Mexico.
“President Trump and the hardline immigration extremists in his administration will stop at nothing to demean and dehumanize families who are exercising their right to seek safety,” added Gilbert. “In this climate, we cannot simply cross our fingers and hope that the administration will act legally and appropriately; we must get involved to help these vulnerable individuals.”
For more information or to speak with Gilbert, contact Corinne Duffy at DuffyC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.