ResourcesPress Release

PHR Raises Alarm About U.S. Human Rights Record at the Border In Advance of President Trump’s Rally in El Paso

Available for Interview: Medical / human rights experts affiliated with Physicians for Human Rights

In advance of President Trump’s rally in El Paso this evening, Monday, February 11, in which he is expected to discuss U.S. immigration policy, Physicians for Human Rights – based on its own research – is raising the alarm about the administration’s egregious human rights record at the border violating migrants’ right to seek asylum.

A team of PHR researchers and physicians who are part of PHR’s Asylum Network have spent significant time in Tijuana, including earlier this month, conducting clinical evaluations of asylum seekers to document the physical and psychological impacts they are currently facing. Once fully analyzed, PHR will share findings publicly. In the meantime, Tamaryn Nelson, senior researcher for PHR, and Kathryn Hampton, who coordinates the Asylum Network program, can discuss the strong cases for asylum PHR is learning about through medical evaluations of and interviews with migrants seeking to cross the border, as well as provide analysis and context for how U.S. policy is affecting these migrants.

Nelson shared, “The asylum seekers our medical team evaluated in Tijuana are fleeing horrendous experiences involving gang violence, rape, and kidnapping. As the U.S. government leaves them in limbo, awaiting the processing of their claims for safe haven, they remain under imminent threat in Mexico, which is not a safe third country for them. The harsh, restrictive immigration policies the U.S. government currently has in place are denying migrants the ability to exercise their legal right to apply for asylum in the United States.”

Hampton added, “Physicians for Human Rights’ research at the border demonstrates that migrants have legitimate, serious claims for asylum. It is crucial that U.S. immigration agents ensure these migrants their right to access medical care and humanitarian aid, and we call on the Trump administration to allow asylum seekers to make their legal claims in safety and dignity, as is their right.”

Nelson and Hampton, who are based in New York, are in Washington, D.C., today and Tuesday to discuss with congressional offices the importance of U.S. policy that ensures the health and safety of asylum seekers. Please contact media@phr.org if you would like to discuss what they have seen in Tijuana, reactions to their meetings in Washington, or reactions to Trump’s remarks Monday night.

Additional resources:
• PHR’s latest policy brief, “Zero Protection,” analyzes records of harmful practices by U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel. Turning away asylum seekers at ports of entry, dumping water left for migrants crossing the desert, and patrolling hospitals in search of undocumented individuals are some examples of how U.S. agents regularly violate migrants’ right to seek asylum and even endanger their lives.
PHR has found that the administration’s “metering” system, which has frequently allowed as few as 15-30 people to apply for asylum each day, is leaving thousands waiting and causing the humanitarian crisis at the border.
PHR’s Twitter feed includes content and video interviews with its medical research team (here and here) filmed earlier this month in Tijuana, which provide additional context for their observations of the medical situation of migrants at the border.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.