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USA: Biden’s new border rules are cruel and chaotic

© Amnesty International

Delegation of leading rights organisations visits border as Title 42 withdrawn

Many people at the border are fleeing escalating cartel violence

‘It’s time to step up and address this humanitarian crisis and the suffering it causes’ - Erika Guevara Rosas

A delegation of leading rights organisations including Amnesty International, the Haitian Bridge Alliance and American Civil Liberties Union visited people seeking asylum and migrants at the US-Mexico border on Friday (12 March) as the US government’s pandemic-era border policy Title 42 was replaced with harsh new immigration policies, including an asylum ban. 

Most of the people they met had been stranded for many months in the Mexican cities of Reynosa and Matamoros - first as a result of Title 42, under which the US could deport people quickly without an asylum hearing under the pretext of controlling COVID-19 - and now due to the Government’s new immigration policies.

People expressed confusion about the changes that are now in place and how best to access their right to asylum. The delegation heard of how people faced difficulties when they tried to book appointments with immigration authorities at the border via the US government’s new mobile app CBP One and the problems they had if they arrived without one, as well as the squalid, inhumane living conditions they were suffering.

They face increasingly dangerous conditions, including as a result of escalating cartel violence and racism that particularly affects black asylum seekers while they wait in Mexico, according to reports.

Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director, said:

“We’ve heard devastating stories of people making their way to the border to seek asylum.

“Coming from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, Central America, Colombia and many other places, they don’t just experience massive human rights violations in their home countries, but also confront the horrors of cruel and inhuman migration policies along the way.

“The US government is outsourcing its border enforcement to Mexico and now Colombia and Guatemala, but it’s not willing to take responsibility for the chaos its policies have created.

“It’s time to step up and address this humanitarian crisis and the suffering it causes.”

The delegation called on the Biden administration to withdraw its new asylum ban and welcome people with dignity and respect for human rights and racial justice, establish a humane border policy that focuses on increased communication, coordination and support for humanitarian aid, shelter and reception at the border and in destination communities.

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