As cities with populations over 250,000 people and an airport consider a federal government request this week to host in a facility child refugees and asylum seekers flooding through the Mexican border, the United Nations has issued a strong message advising detention of asylum-seekers should be avoided and seeking asylum is lawful and a fundamental human right.
Self-contained structure detention facility
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin told Wisconsin Reporter Monday the city was working with several organizations, including Centro Hispano of Dane County, to find a facility of at least 90,000 square feet to shelter between 150 and 250 unaccompanied child immigrants.
“Seeking asylum is lawful and the exercise of a fundamental human right. The detention of asylum-seekers as a routine response should be avoided – these are people who need protection.” UNHCR Director of International Protection Volker Türk.
Soglin said the US federal government is hoping to have a "self-contained structure" for the children. These children are part of a influx of Central American minors who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to flee violence that the United States has created and supported.
The US border crisis involving child refugees has prompted the Obama administration to launch a public relations campaign, neglecting to address the nation's three policies driving the human rights abuses and child refugees from south of the border.
As tens of thousands of child refugees stream across the U.S.-Mexican border in hopes of amnesty, outraging conservatives, three policies related to the child refugee crisis prove the US, not the refugee victims, are to blame for the crisis resulting in extreme human rights violations, including rights of the child abuses. These three policies involve the U.S. terror training of Central American leaders at the School of the Americas, its immigration policy, and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) that worsened poverty in Mexico, where children are fleeing.
Furthermore, US deportations are fueling Central American gang warfare, in turn causing children to flee their homelands, according to former Sen. Alfredo Gutierrez.
Now, overwhelmed by children fleeing terror in the home countries, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, by law, must find shelter for the refugees and asylum seekers while they await deportation hearings.
President Barack Obama declared last week he intends to send more of the children back to their countries.
The Obama administration estimates it will capture nearly 90,000 minors "trying to illegally cross the Mexican border" without their parents by the end of the current budget year in September. The UN, however, has made it clear that the act of these children is not illegal, but treating them as the government has is illegal, as is the treatment right-wing Americans want for the children.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently announced its new five-year global strategy called Beyond Detention to assist countries to stop detaining asylum seekers, refugees, and stateless people worldwide and instead, to protect them.
According to UNHCR, detaining asylum seekers and refugees has become routine in several countries, despite it being both illegal and a human rights violation.
The UN's Beyond Detention has three key parts:
- End detention of children;
- Create alternatives to detention, in law and implementation; and
- Create conditions of detentions, when unavoidable, fully meeting international human rights standards.
To illustrate personal and psychological impact of being detained, the Centre for Victims of Torture with another non-profit group conducted interviews with asylum seekers and torture survivors held in immigration detention facilities in the United States. Profiles in the report are firsthand accounts of what asylum seekers and torture survivors are seeing, thinking, feeling, and enduring as they arrive in the United States and are arrested, shackled, and confined.
“Children are fleeing untenable conditions in their home countries, including pervasive violence and persecution, and are often re-victimized in transit to the United States,” said Joseph Anderson, the director of litigation for Americans for Immigrant Justice.
“We need to ensure that these children are treated with dignity and respect and afforded all applicable legal protections while they are in US custody.”
United Nations: Beyond Detention