“Wrong and shameful”: Critics condemn the extended U.S. COVID refugee ban | Coronavirus pandemic news


U.S. refugee and immigrant advocates slammed President Joe Biden’s government’s decision to extend Controversial health order This allows officials to deport most asylum seekers who have crossed the southern border of Mexico under COVID-19 precautions.

The order invoked Article 42 of the Public Health Clause, which was originally implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in March 2020 under the leadership of former President Donald Trump and has taken effect. Often challenged Expressed by immigrants and rights groups, they said it was used for political purposes and violated the right of individuals to seek asylum in the United States.

On Monday, these rights groups quickly condemned the Biden administration’s latest extension of the order-including an update requiring the measure to be re-evaluated every 60 days instead of the previous 30 days.

They said the postponement conflicted with the president’s commitment to support human rights-led domestic and foreign policies.

Cristina Jimenez, founder of United We Dream immigrant rights organization, wrote: “Biden failed to fulfill his promise of humanitarian immigration because Trump’s Article 42 provides for illegal deportation without due process. Refugees seeking safety in the United States.” Twitter.

“This is wrong and shameful,” she said.

‘Beyond cruelty’

After Biden took office, the coalition of rights groups representing families and individuals prohibited from entering the United States suspended legal challenges to the order, which was originally proposed under Trump’s leadership. The deportation of accompanying minors changed this measure.

The recent extension also formalized a procedure that allows certain immigrants to undergo an exception for orders for approved COVID-19 testing in Mexico.

But on Monday, groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Oxfam and RAICES stated that they were “stalemate in negotiations with the Biden administration to end policy” and that they would proceed with the lawsuit.

“We took the government to court on Article 42 because the lives of children, entire families, and extremely vulnerable groups are at stake,” said Karla Marisol Vargas, senior attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project. Order.

As the Biden administration faces The surge in border crossings Since taking office, critics have accused the federal government of illegally using public health issues as a cover to stop immigration.

Vargas added in a statement: “It is very cruel to use obscure public health rules to refuse to seek safe families and to functionally shut down our asylum system without due process. It’s illegal.” “People have the legal right to seek safety in the United States, and our government has the resources to safely process them to the United States to hear their cases.”

A U.S. official said in a court document related to legal challenges submitted on Monday that preliminary data showed that U.S. authorities picked up more than 19,000 unaccompanied children at the southern border in July—a record number. The highest monthly total.

The official said that the number of people crossing the border with their families in July may be around 80,000. This will be slightly lower than the all-time high of 88,857 in May 2019, but higher than the 55,805 in June.

The official said that overall, based on preliminary data, Customs and Border Patrol may have encountered about 210,000 people in July, which is the highest number of monthly encounters in 20 years. Some of these encounters may be related to people who have tried to cross the border many times.

‘No scientific basis’

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy David Shahoulian (David Shahoulian), who submitted the challenge, stated that in the case of a surge in cases of the highly spread Delta variant, Article 42 is important for protecting federal authorities, It is necessary for immigrants and the public.

Shahoulian said the infection rate of migrants crossing the southern border has “increased significantly in recent weeks.”

He said that despite the increase in vaccination rates, the number of infections by US border agents has also started to rise in recent weeks, resulting in more agents being isolated or hospitalized due to the coronavirus.

He did not provide the exact number of immigrants or agents who tested positive.

Despite this, many public health experts still question the argument that Order 42 (applicable only to people entering the country without documents) is necessary to help curb the spread of COVID-19, saying that there is no scientific data to support this reason and can be taken Other measures to ensure safety.

On July 1, four public health experts wrote an article letter Urged the Biden administration to end the policy, which they said “continues to use the COVID-19 pandemic unethically to expel, deter and return dangerous asylum seekers and individuals seeking protection at the border”.

They wrote: “Public health and medical experts have repeatedly called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revoke the Article 42 deportation policy, which does not protect public health and has never intended to do so.” This discriminatory practice has no scientific basis as a public health measure.”

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