Respect the right to seek asylum. | Center for Victims of Torture

Respect the right to seek asylum.

As COVID-19 began its spread during March 2020, the Trump administration used the pandemic as an excuse to keep out asylum seekers and send them back to dangerous countries. In the first instance of this Executive usage, it invoked an old and obscure public health rule known as Title 42 to stop allowing individuals into the United States based on the COVID-19 pandemic. This immediately started the process of removing of people directly back to the countries from which they fled, and to Mexico without allowing them a significant screening to evaluate whether they qualify for humanitarian protection.

This is illegal under international and U.S. law, which assert the rights of people to seek asylum in another country from torture and persecution. These actions by the government are known as “expulsions.” These expulsions affect Black asylum seekers in particularly large numbers, with asylum seekers from Cameroon and Haiti repeatedly subjected to flights back to those countries.

Equally worrisome, the claim that keeping asylum seekers out is protecting U.S. citizens from COVID is inaccurate and misleading. Repeatedly, public health experts have stated that turning people away from the Southern border does not keep COVID from spreading. It’s an excuse. A bad one. And it’s an excuse that was designed to further the Trump administration’s goal to end asylum.

Thousands of individuals are being expelled every day, even under the Biden administration. The U.S. must stop sending people back to dangerous countries.

At CVT, clients tell us that the decision to flee is difficult and enormously stressful. Our clients survived torture, violence and persecution, as well as coping with the fear and anxiety that result from this despicable treatment. People leave their homes behind because they fear death and pain – for themselves and their loved ones.

The decision to flee from your home is always made from desperation and fear. And a little bit of hope.

CVT knows that there is a better way. We can and should welcome asylum seekers and treat them humanely. In fact, the United States can design a trauma-informed asylum system and incorporate safe COVID-19 practices. We have a road map to doing this: check out our Five Steps to Design a Trauma-Informed Asylum System in the United States.


The U.S. must respect the right to seek asylum. 

COVID is not an excuse to send people back to danger.



Contact the White House – tell President Biden to stop expelling asylum seekers.
Call the White House at: 202-456-1111. Or click here to send an email to the president.
OR contact your elected representatives and tell them to ask President Biden to stop expelling asylum seekers.

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