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Women’s Refugee Commission Reacts to John Kelly Nomination

As the nomination process for John Kelly proceeds, the Women’s Refugee Commission is concerned that the potential head of Homeland Security may not be aware of or understand the stakes involved with deterring people from seeking protection at our borders.

In recent years, the U.S. has encouraged Mexico and bolstered its capabilities to deter, interdict, detain, and deport migrants, without due regard for proper, individualized screenings to determine whether the person may raise protection claims. Recent strategies employed at least locally at the U.S. southwestern border also suggest that the U.S. may be sending people back to Mexico to wait for processing, where they are extremely vulnerable to becoming victims of criminal activity, including trafficking. These strategies violate international protection standards and, without unobstructed access to protection, only serve to send persons seeking protection and other vulnerable migrants back to places where their personal integrity and lives are at risk.

The Women’s Refugee Commission hopes that the Department of Homeland Security will lead on access to safety for those seeking protection and fairness and due process for immigrants in a new administration.  Now more than ever, it is crucial to recognize that what is happening in Central America is a regional humanitarian crisis that must be addressed comprehensively by ensuring that individuals – especially the many women and children we've seen arrive in the last two years – are able to exercise their right to asylum.

For more information, please contact Michelle Brané, Director, Migrant Rights and Justice Program at MichelleB@wrcommission.org