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February 01, 2021

Illegal Pushbacks by the United States of People Seeking Refugee Protection

Human Rights First’s Submission to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 43/6


This submission principally focuses on illegal policies and practices implemented by the United States during the administration of President Trump to pushback, block, deter, expel, and punish asylum seekers and separate asylum-seeking families in violation of U.S. international treaty obligations. While the Biden Administration has made clear it intends to end some of these policies, as of February 1, 2021 – the deadline for this submission – it has not yet stated how long it plans to take to fully end these policies, nor whether it will continue some of these illegal policies. This document draws on Human Rights First’s experience representing, researching, and advocating for refugees seeking humanitarian protections in the United States. Human Rights First will supplement its submission to update the Special Rapporteur on shifts in policies and practices and any continuing areas of concern. Due to submission length constraints, this discussion does not comprehensively cover all unlawful pushback policies implemented by the U.S. government in detail.

Download the submission