US immigration plan risks undermining human rights: UN

The new US border control measures risk undermining fundamental human rights, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, warned on Wednesday.

“The right to seek asylum is a human right, regardless of where people come from, their migration status or how they arrived at the border,” Türk said in a statement, stressing that these measures went “against the prohibition of collective expulsions and the principle of non-refoulement”.

The White House announced last Thursday “new consequences” for migrants who cross the border illegally: the United States will more often resort to immediate expulsions, accompanied by a ban on new entry into the territory for five years.

More than 230,000 arrests were still recorded in November at the southern border of the United States, a record level.

Up to 30,000 skilled migrants will be allowed to enter the United States each month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, but they will have to arrive by air so as not to add to the workload of border guards on the ground. .

On the other hand, those who cross the border illegally will be more easily turned back, according to the White House. “This will widen and accelerate legal pathways for immigration but lead to new consequences for those who do not use them,” she added in a statement.

Large swaths of the US economy, particularly in agriculture, depend on immigrant labor, but the migration system is on the brink of collapse.

Migrants, anxious to escape poverty or violence in their countries of origin, often take enormous risks to enter American soil.

More than 800 people died during the fiscal year, many of them drowned in the Rio Grande River, according to a border guard official quoted by American radio NPR.

Faced with constant criticism from his opposition, but also from associations of defenders of migrants, US President Joe Biden has so far remained rather discreet.

His administration has been content to send migrants back to Mexico based on a measure put in place by his Republican predecessor Donald Trump during the pandemic. This measure, dubbed “Title 42”, is the subject of an intense judicial guerrilla war whose epilogue will be known in June at the Supreme Court of the United States.

“Title 42 has already been used by U.S. immigration authorities some 2.5 million times at the southern border to deport people to Mexico or to their home country without their protection has been studied on an individual basis and without a proper procedure being followed”, argued the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mr. Biden is not the first president to come up against this thorny issue, which largely depends on the conditions in the countries of origin and comes up against positions that are difficult to reconcile between Democrats and Republicans.

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