ACLU Statement on Administration’s Extension of CDC Order Blocking Asylum

April 20, 2020 11:00 am

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration today extended its unscrupulous border restrictions, which permit border agents to quickly “expel” all migrants apprehended between ports of entry or presenting at ports of entry without valid documents, without the fear screening required under U.S. law, citing coronavirus concerns. The original 30-day restrictions were issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 20, 2020, and the new order extends those restrictions through May 20, 2020. Already nearly 10,000 migrants, including asylum seekers, families, and children, have been “expelled” under these restrictions.

The following statement is from Ruthie Epstein, deputy director of policy for the American Civil Liberties Union:

“The administration has failed for many weeks to take obvious steps — like releasing individuals from Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention and suspending interior enforcement — that would save immigrants, government employees, and the public at large from unnecessary risk of COVID-19 infection.

“In stark contrast, when it comes to the border, the administration has taken drastic and unjustified actions. It has simply discarded our longstanding domestic and international commitments to refugee protection, without making any effort to implement procedures that would be faithful to those commitments while taking appropriate precautions — and without even providing a legal justification, as demanded by Congress. It’s obvious that the Trump administration is exploiting a serious public health crisis to achieve its long-held goal of closing the border to asylum seekers.”

The CDC order is here.

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