Today, the U.S. Senate voted to terminate President Trump’s national emergency declaration that would redirect funds to build an unnecessary border wall. Though Trump is expected to veto this resolution, the Senate’s vote demonstrates bipartisan opposition to the president’s emergency declaration to build the wall. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) issued the statement below in support of the vote and acknowledging the ongoing threats to asylum seekers’ rights and safety at the border.
Michael Payne, advocacy officer at PHR, said, “The U.S. Senate voted today to join the House in rejecting President Trump’s effort to divert billions of dollars toward unnecessary border security measures. The bipartisan vote demonstrates the wide-ranging opposition to the administration’s executive overreach in constructing physical, legal, and policy barriers. With these barriers, the administration seeks to restrict and intimidate asylum seekers desperately in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, adequate medical care, efficient processing, and safe haven from the trauma of gross human rights abuses.
“Physicians for Human Rights urges President Trump to accept the will of the U.S. Congress and the American people. Protecting people’s legal right to seek asylum as well as the human rights and dignity of asylum seekers is fundamental to a democracy. Demonizing immigrants and stoking politics of fear creates an atmosphere that allows human rights abuses to flourish.”
- Through its Asylum Network, PHR conducts forensic medical evaluations of asylum seekers that document evidence of physical and psychological trauma.
- 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 in Mexico and causing a humanitarian crisis at the border.
- PHR echoed the concerns raised by Homeland Security health experts about family detention (see PHR’s policy statement on the risks and harms of family detention).
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.