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WASHINGTON – The “Refuge for Families” campaign, a transnational initiative to address and develop a humane and unified movement responsive to the plight of migrants along the Central America-US corridor, strongly condemn the new rule that would deny asylum seekers the right to request protection at our Southern border if they do not apply for asylum in at least one country along their route to the United States.

“This is yet another blatantly illegal, discriminatory dictum from a president who seems intent on ending our asylum system and inflicting further pain and suffering on people who have legitimate reasons for fleeing their homeland,” said Oscar Chacón, an executive member of Refuge for Families and executive director of Alianza Américas, a network of 50 organizations led by Latin American and Caribbean immigrants who represent more than 100,000 families throughout the United States. “By international law, individuals who fear for their safety need to be given a chance to present their case before U.S. authorities.”

It is clear to most legal observers that the president cannot rewrite asylum law and undo laws passed by Congress.

“Congress made explicit that asylum seekers are not to be treated differently based on their point of entry or where they come from. The transit ban being discussed applies only to the Southern border and much like the challenge in the earlier asylum ban litigation, the administration lacks the statutory authority to treat asylum seekers differently based on where in the United States they entered or arrived,” said Stephanie Stephens of We Are All America.

“As a coalition with organizations on the ground, Refuge for Families is committed to addressing and educating the public on the real and dangerous plight faced by migrants traveling throughout their migration route. Not only does this ban affect Central Americans it also targets asylum seekers from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East whose long journeys lead them towards the Central America-US corridor,” said Josh Hoyt from the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA).

“The new rule is an assault on human rights and must be stopped,” affirmed Yanely Rivas, Coordinator for the Refuge for Families Campaign. “Central America and Mexico are not safe for migrants, especially with the increased criminalization of human mobility and militarization we are witnessing throughout the region. In addition, people face violence and discrimination if they return to their home countries and are often forced to re-embark on the dangerous journey because they have no other choice.”

“The United States must be a country where humanitarian protection is honored not dismantled. Asylum seekers should be given a chance to gain refuge, instead of being trapped in dangerous conditions as a ploy in this president’s re-election campaign,” said Sulma Arias, with the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM).

Throughout the months of August and September, Refuge for Families will be organizing learning tours and fact-finding missions to Central America to build an understanding of the conditions that are driving displacement and the role of the United States in creating those conditions.

Refuge for Families, led by the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), Alianza Americas and We Are All America, has worked to uplift and educate the public on the underlying causes of migration in the region and supports accountable, citizen-led foreign policy strategies addressing the causes of exodus along the Central America-US corridor.

Susana Flores (915) 525-2434

Fernanda Durand (443) 396-3317