CGRS Calls on White House to Reject Executive Order Restricting Asylum Access

Friday, October 26, 2018

According to several media outlets, President Trump is considering a new Executive Order designed to block certain groups from seeking asylum protection at the United States’ southern border. The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) condemns any such action, which would undoubtedly result in the return of women, children, and families to life-threatening violence and persecution.

Early reports suggest that the Executive Order would prohibit a certain class of migrants from entering the United States, relying on the same legal authority the president used to issue each iteration of his Administration’s shameful Muslim ban. The Order could be used to target members of the migrant caravan currently traveling north from Honduras to seek refuge in the United States. The president may also attempt to define the banned class more broadly, potentially precluding from protection all asylum seekers fleeing pervasive violence in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America.

In recent weeks the president has waged a relentless attack on Central American migrants, spreading blatantly racist lies in an attempt to stoke fear in the runup to the midterm elections. He has characterized the migrant caravan from Honduras as a security threat, completely misrepresenting a group that includes families, children, and others fleeing dangerous and untenable conditions in their home country. The president’s hateful rhetoric is consistent with the narrative his Administration has promoted since he took office, distorting the global refugee crisis to advance its anti-immigrant agenda.

The Executive Order reportedly under consideration would rely on this false narrative and use the pretense of national security concerns to undermine the right to asylum, which is enshrined in both U.S. and international law. If enacted, the Order would inevitably face a slew of legal challenges. CGRS urges our government to eschew such action and uphold its legal and moral obligations to refugees and asylum seekers.