United States-Human Rights Committee- Immigration, Detention, Trafficking —Jan. 2019

The Advocates for Human Rights submitted a suggested List of Issues to the Human Rights Committee regarding reporting related to asylum, immigration enforcement and detention, and human trafficking in the United States.

Since the last review of the United States by the Human Rights Committee, the United States has increased efforts to arrest and deport migrants, including changes in policy that increasingly support family separation, directly affecting asylum seekers and their eligibility.

Under the Trump Administration, immigration issues at the U.S. and Mexican border have greatly increased. The U.S. routinely ignores it’s non-refoulement obligations. For instance, the government recently implemented a “zero-tolerance” policy. Regarding other variations of migration, the Trump Administration has issued “Muslim bans” and “extreme vetting” for all refugees (although these have expired), while simultaneously ending Temporary Protected Status for nationals of Sudan and other countries, and decreasing the annual refugee admissions cap. The return of immigrants by the U.S. government continues to accompany mandatory detention and deportation of certain categories of immigrants without adequate due process and legal representation. During detention, the U.S. government subjects many immigrants to inhumane conditions, subjecting some to prolonged solitary confinement, medical neglect and sexual assault. Regarding trafficking, the U.S. ostensibly condemns forced labor yet perpetrates it within private immigration detention centers and continues to neglect victims of trafficking.

The Advocates for Human Rights suggest the following suggestions to the United States of America:

  • Provide Border Patrol training relating to individuals who express a fear of persecution or return, including providing specific information about how different jurisdictions utilizing the Streamline prosecution initiative will ensure no individual is prosecuted for illegal entry or re-entry as a result of their flight from persecution.
  • Provide specific information regarding trainings on obligations prohibiting refoulement, safeguards implemented on deportation, and how children are being informed about their rights under the Refugee Convention and the Convention Against Torture.
  • Increase efforts to protect and advocate for victims of trafficking and forced labor, including improving victim identification.
  • Take steps to use administrative fixes to correct violations of ICCPR obligations.
  • Check accountability of private prisons, specifically regarding their interference with the right to counsel for persons held in their custody.
  • Provide detailed information about compliance within facilities of the standards outlined in the 2011 Operations Manual on ICE Performance-Based National Standards.
  • Release information about the amount of persons being held in Solitary Confinement.
  • Provide information of sexual assault issues within immigration custody, including actions taken and prevention measures set up.