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Banning Asylum Seekers during the COVID-19 Pandemic Endangers Lives and Violates Human Rights


As the world responds to the humanitarian and public health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government has callously and irresponsibly moved to shut down the border to people seeking asylum.

Turning our backs to children, families, and people seeking refuge makes all of us less safe and endangers more lives.

Asylum-restricting policies that were in place even before the COVID-19 pandemic have already made us less safe and less prepared: Remain in Mexico sent tens of thousands of people seeking safety to dangerous parts of Mexico to live in unsafe and inhumane conditions in precarious camps and shelters. Recent rapid-deportation border policies hold asylum-seekers for unlawfully long periods of time in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions in border facilities.

A total ban on asylum at the border will only endanger the health, safety, and lives of even more refugees and migrants and further jeopardize our collective public health.

As the U.S. addresses the humanitarian and public health challenges presented by COVID-19, immigrants and asylum-seekers must not be left behind and their human rights must be protected.

The U.S. government must immediately cease plans to shut the border to people seeking asylum and implement measures prioritizing their health and safety as it responds to the pandemic.

DHS Secretary