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Women’s Refugee Commission Calls for Protection of Women and Children Asylum Seekers at Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

WRC Joins 18 Groups in Call for Border Protections for Women and Children, United States Fails to Send Representative for the First Time in Years 

Washington, DC – Today, at a hearing convened by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Women’s Refugee Commission joined 18 groups in urging the IACHR to review and report on U.S. policies that are preventing women and children at the border from accessing critical protections. 

Leah Chavla of the Women’s Refugee Commission said:

“Access to asylum is a right protected by both U.S. and international law.  Separation of families at the border, detention of asylum seekers, turning away asylum seekers, and mistreatment in CBP custody all impede access to asylum and punish migrants seeking protection.  These policies don’t make us safer, on the contrary, they undermine the rule of law and empower criminals, smugglers and traffickers who benefit from vulnerable migrants who have been denied due process and international protection.

Nicole Ramos of the Latin America Working Group said:

“Over the course of 15 months, I have escorted 68 asylum seekers to the port-of-entry, where I personally witnessed CBP officers, CBP supervisors, and Private Paragon security guards contracted by CBP, attempt to turn asylum seekers away, and deny them access to a credible fear interview. I have heard all of these officers state that a person cannot seek asylum at a port-of-entry; that they must go to the consulate or the embassy; that they simply do not qualify, that asylum is no longer available, that they can only apply at one Single port of entry, even though there are three, and that they must first obtain an interview ticket from Mexican immigration authorities, and that without this ticket, CBP officers will not speak with them. These violations even extend to unaccompanied children, the most vulnerable of asylum seekers.”

Breaking with its duties and longstanding engagement with the IACHR, the United States did not send a delegation or any representative to this hearing or others regarding the U.S. during this period of sessions. See American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) response to this decision here

 In her opening remarks, Sarah Paoletti of the University of Pennsylvania Law School Transnational Legal Clinic responded with the following statement:

“We are extremely disappointed by the failure of the United States to appear and engage on the merits of the issues presented today, and to take advantage of this opportunity to work with civil society and this honorable Commission to ensure the rights of all migrants, and particularly the rights of asylum seekers and their family members.”

WRC and the accompanying groups will follow up with written requests and suggestions for the IACHR. 


For more information contact: Leah Chaval, LeahC@wrcommission.orgTessa Wiseman, tessa@newpartners.com

Also see WRC’s 10 Things to Know About How Trump’s Executive Order Will Harm Women and Children Seeking Protection here