Under cover of the COVID-19 crisis, the Trump administration is throwing out decades-old protections for people seeking asylum, putting their lives at risk. In less than a month, U.S. authorities expelled thousands of asylum-seekers to Mexico, without offering them any chance to apply for protection. They have also deported unaccompanied children without review or due process—another direct violation of U.S. law.
These actions not only trample on human rights, they also risk spreading COVID-19 to countries with fragile health systems that are already grappling with humanitarian crises. Since the pandemic began, the Trump administration has continued deporting people to Haiti, Guatemala, and other nations in the region, despite mounting evidence that removing people from the United States—a global coronavirus “hotspot”—accelerates the spread of the virus.
Don’t let them get away with it. The public sees through the tissue-thin rationales they have offered for these policies. Mass expulsion is not compatible with either human rights or public health. Instead of deporting people to danger, and spreading the deadly virus to vulnerable countries, the Trump administration should release people from detention to shelter-in-place with their families.
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