CVT Responds to COVID-19 | Center for Victims of Torture

CVT Responds to COVID-19

CVT remains steadfast in support of survivors of torture
in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CVT is Here for Clients, Staff, Partners and Supporters

We at the Center for Victims of Torture recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed all of us into an extraordinary time, and we join millions around the world in remembering our common humanity as we all cope with this new, challenging reality. Below is information that may be of help to you during this time.

We share the concerns of our clients, staff and supporters as this crisis unfolds, and want you to know that we are doing all we can to take protective and constructive steps to mitigate impacts. CVT has taken measures to protect the health of our dedicated teams in all of our locations, including remote work where possible. We are reaching out to clients regarding their care, and we will be in contact with supporters as events or other plans change. We are closely monitoring how this situation evolves and will adjust accordingly.

We also stand with asylum seekers who are attempting to reach safety in the United States. Closing the U.S. southern border to individuals who have survived torture and to those most in need is unlawful and immoral. Read our statement here.

CVT is engaging in policy advocacy in many actions intended to help asylum seekers and refugees at the U.S. southern border who face increased risks during the pandemic. Join us in our current action.



ACTION: Join the chorus of voices protecting asylum seekers and the survivors of torture among them. Contact your member of Congress and demand action on legislation to ensure survivors can come to the U.S. to heal. Click to send a message.


Self-Care in Difficult Times


The anxiety and stress of this moment affect everyone. For empirically-supported tips on how to take care of yourself during challenging times, please check out the Professional Quality of Life measure at These recommendations are supported by strong evidence, and they are simple to implement.



Mental Health Resources in Multiple Languages

There is help available for coping with difficult times, including ways to manage stress, help children cope, and understand symptoms of distress. For mental health resources in multiple languages, click here.

Help CVT and Our Clients

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, survivors of torture need care more than ever. Please give to CVT to ensure we continue our life-changing care for clients.

A message from Curt Goering, CVT executive director:

CVT Actions and Publications to Support Refugees & Asylum Seekers During the Pandemic

News Media: Congress Debates Allowing Prisoners to Leave Guantanamo for Medical Care
July 15, 2020
Scott Roehm, director of the Washington, DC office, was quoted in this article in the National Journal, saying, “If there were ever a time that’s critical to have medical-transfer authority, it’s in the face of a pandemic that could easily spread throughout the entire naval base, detainee population included.”

CVT ArticleYet Another Brick in Trump’s Border Wall: A Blanket Ban on Asylum
July 14, 2020
“Asylum seekers have the right to seek protection in the United States as required by domestic and international law . . . The president is exploiting a global crisis as a means to racist, bigoted ends,” writes Andrea Cárcamo, CVT senior policy counsel in this article here, which was also published at Medium.

Letter to the CDC: Rescind the Order
June 17, 2020
CVT joined Georgia-area professionals in public health, medicine, law and immigration in sending this letter to CDC Director Robert Redfield, urging him to rescind his order blocking asylum seekers from entering the U.S. at the borders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Letter to DHS: End Policies Affecting Immigrant Children
June 16, 2020
CVT joined 122 organizations on this letter urging the Department of Homeland Security to end policies instituted under cover of the coronavirus that threaten the safety and family unity of vulnerable immigrant children.

Letter to Congress: Include Latin America & Caribbean in Emergency Spending Package
June 8, 2020
CVT joined this letter to Congressional leadership, urging assistance as COVID-19 spreads in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Letters to Congress: Do Not Bail Out USCIS
June 4, 2020
CVT joined letters to the House and Senate, calling for conditions on a bailout of U.S. Citizen & Immigration Services that would reverse its focus on enforcement.

Letter to DHS & CDC: Retain Protections for Asylum Seekers and Unaccompanied Children
May 27, 2020
CVT joined 250 organizations in this letter to the Department of Homeland Security and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling for safe response to the needs of people fleeing to the U.S. border during the pandemic.

News Media: Saporta Report
May 4, 2020
Dr. Fernando Reati, CVT board member and noted author, wrote this piece for the Saporta Report, writing, “For some of us this is the first time we are experiencing such frightening events. For others, like survivors, this is one more occasion to rise to the challenge and tap once again into that which makes us human.”

News Media: TPT Almanac
May 1, 2020
Curt Goering, executive director,
appeared on Almanac to discuss CVT's work to support clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. He commented, “ . . . the hope of reunification with one’s spouse, one’s children, with one’s parents, is one of the major factors that allow survivors who’ve been through these horrendous experiences to have hope for the future. And when those hopes are crushed or the prospect of that has been in effect eliminated, it really sets them back. The process of recovery is a long one and the hope of being reunited is one of the things that keeps people going.”

News Media: USA Today
Apr. 28, 2020
Trump's Coronavirus Order Scapegoats Immigrants and Doesn't Make Us Safer – a
USA Today op ed by Linda Chavez, director of the Becoming American Initiative, and Scott Roehm, CVT director of the Washington, DC office.

Rulemaking Comments: Do Not Limit Asylum Seeking
Apr. 23, 2020
CVT submitted comments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opposing newly proposed immigration restrictions that will impact torture survivors among asylum seeking populations.

Letter to Governor Kemp: Support Refugees
Apr. 21, 2020
CVT joined a coalition of organizations in this letter to the Georgia governor, highlighting the contributions of refugees to health and safety during COVID-10.

CVT Statement: Immigration Suspension Would be Political Grandstanding at its Worst
Apr. 21, 2020
CVT responded to reports that President Trump is preparing to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States.

Letter to Georgia Dept of Public Health: Evacuate Immigrant Detention Centers
Apr. 17, 2020
CVT joined this letter to Governor Kemp and leaders in the Georgia Department of Health, calling for release of people currently detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in Georgia.

CVT Article: Refugees and Asylum Seekers Brace Themselves for COVID-19
Apr. 16, 2020
As COVID-19 spreads around the world, CVT describes the impacts and the steps people can take to help refugees and asylum seekers.

Letter to DHS: Rescind Policy of Expulsion, Especially for Survivors of GBV
Apr. 16, 2020
CVT joined organizations in this letter urging DHS to immediately rescind its policy of expelling asylum seekers at the border, which puts survivors of domestic violence at great risk. Here is the letter in Spanish.

Letter to DHS & CDC: Expulsions of Unaccompanied Children
Apr. 16, 2020
CVT joined 75+ organizations on this letter urging DHS and CDC to cease the expulsion of unaccompanied children and to exempt them and asylum seekers from U.S. southern border entry restrictions.

Letter to Congressional Leadership: FIRST Act
Apr. 16, 2020
CVT joined this letter in support of the Federal Immigrant Release for Safety and Security Together Act (FIRST Act).

Letter to DHS & CDC: Objection to Expulsions
Apr. 16, 2020
CVT joined 125 organizations objecting to DHS’s use of COVID-19 and the Mar. 20 order of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out the Trump administration’s goal to close the southern border.

Letter to DHS and EOIR: Barriers to Counsel
Apr. 16, 2020
CVT joined this letter calling on officials to address access to counsel issues faced by asylum seekers subject to the Remain in Mexico policy.

CVT Article: TPS for Venezuela
Apr. 15, 2020
Andrea Cárcamo, senior policy counsel, writes in this blog post about the urgent need to designate Venezuela for temporary protected status. This article is published on Medium.

Letter to Congress: Congressional Fourth Package (COVID #4)
Apr. 13, 2020
CVT joined more than 150 organizations in this letter supporting refugee priorities in COVID-19-related legislation.

News Media: Torture Survivors among Minnesota's Most Vulnerable During Pandemic
Apr. 9, 2020
Curt Goering wrote this opinion article, providing an update on the pandemic’s impacts on clients and on CVT’s work.

Letter to Governor Kemp: Moratorium on Evictions & Foreclosures
Apr. 1, 2020
CVT joined a large coalition in this letter to the governor of Georgia, urging him to halt evictions and foreclosures as the COVID pandemic impacts people with disastrous results.

Letter to Departments of State and Homeland Security: Extend Visa Validity during Pandemic
Mar. 31, 2020
CVT and other organizations urged Secretary of State Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Wolf to extend visa validity for immigrants and refugees.

Rulemaking Comments: Fees for Asylum Seekers
Mar. 30, 2020
CVT submitted comments opposing fees for filing for asylum in immigration court.

Letter to Department of Justice: Close Immigration Courts During COVID-19 Crisis
Mar. 26, 2020
CVT joined more than 70 organizations in urging immediate closure of immigration courts to help protect the safety of asylum seekers

CVT Article: Rescind Public Charge Rule
Mar. 24, 2020
“The public charge rule never should have been implemented. It is even more dangerously irresponsible now, as we face a pandemic that continues to spread in the United States. The rule must be rescinded immediately,” writes Michelle Rodenburg, CVT policy intern.

Letter to DHS: Expelling Asylum Seekers is Illegal
Mar. 23, 2020
CVT joined more than 114 civil-society organizations in calling on the Department of Homeland Security to respect the rights of asylum seekers.

Letter to ICE and EOIR: Prioritize Safety of Detainees
Mar. 23, 2020
CVT joined advocacy groups in calling on ICE and Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to prioritize the safety of employees, detained asylum seekers and immigrants and their legal representatives during the COVID-19 crisis.

Letter to Congress: Include Immigrants in COVID Aid
Mar. 21, 2020
CVT joined human rights organizations in asking Congress to include immigrant families in their request for coronavirus relief aid.

Letter to Trump Administration: Extend Public Comments Period During COVID Crisis
Mar. 19, 2020
CVT joined human rights organization in asking the White House to extend the comments period during the coronavirus crisis.

Letter to Minnesota Officials: Support for Vulnerable Populations
Mar. 19, 2020
CVT joined 200 human rights organizations in this letter to Minnesota legislative leaders, requesting that vulnerable populations are included in emergency response.

CVT Statement: Closing U.S. Southern Border to Those Most in Need is Unlawful, Immoral
Mar. 18, 2020
Curt Goering, executive director, issued this statement amid reports that the Trump administration may close the U.S. borders to asylum seekers during the COVID-19 crisis.



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