asylum under attack

When a person’s life is threatened, they have a right as a human bring to flee to safety. Under international and domestic law, the United States is required to provide protection to asylum seekers who cannot return to their home country for fear of persecution.

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Yet exercising the right to seek asylum is now being treated as a criminal act by the Trump administration, which continues to enact hostile and inhumane policies against those with nowhere else to go.

Instead of welcoming the world’s most persecuted and at-risk populations with welcome centers and opportunities, the current administration is ordering boots on the ground. In the eyes of men like Donald Trump and Jeff Session, asylum seekers are frauds and liars.

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After 11 years of working closely with refugees seeking asylum, RIF can say with certainty that most asylum seekers would have preferred to stay in their home country, surrounded by friends, family, and familiarity. Instead they have come to the U.S. because they were forced to do so by forces outside of their control, and because they understood the U.S. to be a beacon of freedom and protection.

The Trump administration is doing its best to toughen immigration laws to make it more difficult to apply for or be granted asylum in the U.S., with total disregard for the root causes of the mass displacement of populations, such as the Central American humanitarian crisis at our own border, which continues to drive a surge of asylum seekers into our country.

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We contend that these xenophobic policies are trampling a basic human right, that which should be a cause for pride for Americans. The administration has carefully produced a climate of fear. The so-called refugee invasion is based on totally unfounded facts. 

In recent months, RIF has witnessed a series of arbitrary arrests of asylum seekers by ICE, even in our sanctuary city.

The silver lining? A growing mobilization by private citizens against these policies. Your actions, whether taking to the streets to protest, posting a “Refugees Welcome Here” sign on the window of your business, or getting amped up for the midterms this fall, give us the hope to keep fighting for what we know in our hearts is good and right.

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