UN: New US border measures pose human rights risks

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UN: New US border measures pose human rights risks

United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk stated that the new border measures announced by the United States recently undermine and risk fundamental international human rights and refugee law.

In a written statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk criticized the US border measures.

The changes announced by US President Joe Biden include the evacuation of refugees for expedited deportation and the ‘expansion of the 42nd Amendment’, which expedites the deportation of illegal immigrants.

Law 42 has been used about 2.5 million times by US immigration authorities at the country’s southern border without due process and procedure and without regard to protection needs, Türk said, adding that people have been sent to Mexico or their home countries.

‘Asylum is a human right’

“It does not matter one’s origin, immigration status or how one reaches an international border. The right to asylum is a human right,” Türk said, noting that the measures taken by the US contradict the principle of collective deportation and refoulement and pose risks.

“While I welcome measures to create and expand safe and regular routes (for refugees), such initiatives should not come at the expense of basic human rights, including the right to asylum and the individual assessment of their need for protection,” Volker Türk said, noting that the ‘humanitarian parole’ program, which allows about 30,000 people a month from Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua to come to the US for a 2-year period under strict conditions, could also be extended.

He pointed out that limited access to humanitarian parole for some should not be a substitute for protecting the human rights of all, and shared the concerns of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on this issue.

Reiterating his call for the human rights of all refugees and migrants to be respected and protected at international borders, Türk said: “We hear a lot of talk about migration crises, but it is migrants in general who are in real crisis. Instead of vilifying them and taking away their long-held rights, we need to manage migration safely while respecting human rights.”

Biden’s new border plan

At a press conference on January 5, US President Joe Biden explained his government’s efforts against the problem of illegal immigrants, which has been on the agenda with the ’42nd law’ discussions in recent weeks.

Stating that the restrictions enacted to quickly deport illegal immigrants during the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to be applied against Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians, Biden announced that up to 30 thousand migrants from these three countries and Venezuela will be allowed to enter by air every month.

Addressing Cuban, Nicaraguan and Haitian illegal immigrants trying to enter the US illegally, Biden said, “This new process is orderly, safe and humane. So don’t just show up at the border.”

“These measures alone will not fix our entire immigration system, but they can be very helpful,” Biden said, adding that they had sent a comprehensive immigration plan to Congress to address this problem, but that Republicans did not want to consider it.

The Biden administration’s announcement last month that it was preparing to repeal Law 42, which accelerates the deportation of illegal immigrants, caused controversy.

Especially Republican states bordering Mexico reacted to the plan to abolish Law 42, while some cities near the border, such as El Paso, Texas, declared a state of emergency against the influx of illegal immigrants.

Democrat-run states such as New York and California also warned that they could face another influx of migrants if Act 42 is repealed and called for financial assistance from Congress and the federal government.


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