Women’s Refugee Commission Statement in Advance of State of the Union

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Washington, DC – As President Donald Trump prepares to give his first State of the Union address this evening, families seeking asylum in the United States are being forcibly separated at the border; women, men, and children are languishing in ICE detention centers hoping for fair resolutions of their immigration cases; and many other asylum seekers are getting swept up by traffickers or sent back to the countries they fled without due process. 

In the past year, the Trump administration has:

  • Proposed formalizing the existing practice of forcibly separating families at the border without due process;
  • Ended policies and programs that protect vulnerable children, women, men, and families, such as the Central American Minors Program (CAM), Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans and Haitians, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program;
  • Failed to implement its own policies regarding the detention of pregnant women, which has resulted in inadequate medical care and prolonged detention that put the health of mothers and babies at risk;
  • Failed to implement its own policy on sensitive locations by detaining parents taking their children to school; children en route to hospitals; and women seeking protection in courthouses;
  • Ended the Family Case Management Program, which was 99% successful in ensuring families appeared for court and complied with immigration requirements; and
  • Turned away asylum seekers at our borders, in violation of national and international laws.

In response to the president’s first year in office, and in advance of his first State of the Union address, Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, made the following statement:

"The state of our union is far more worrisome than it was one year ago. Instead of instituting policies and programs that actually make America safer and more prosperous, the Trump administration has used its first year in office to wage a continual attack on the most vulnerable people in the U.S. immigration system — asylum-seeking women, children, and families. The Women’s Refugee Commission urges this administration to stop attacking families and asylum seekers. We call on members of Congress to keep up the fight for the courageous mothers, fathers, and children who flee horrific conditions in their home countries and take perilous journeys to the southern border of the U.S. to exercise their legal right to seek asylum. A strong union cannot be achieved at the expense of our American values or our humanity."