SAN DIEGO — Today, the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties and ACLU affiliates from the southern border region launched a new campaign, the ACLU Border Humanity Project. The campaign advocates for rebuilding the asylum process and demanding an end to indiscriminate immigration detention and abuses of people at the border. It also seeks to educate the public about unjust asylum policies that deny people their legal and human right to seek asylum in the United States.
The campaign features a new website with information for immigration advocates, "Know Your Rights" and other resources for people seeking asylum, an advocacy component with soon-to-launched digital ads, social media content, and a petition demanding that the Biden administration rebuild the asylum system and end immigration detention abuses.
The previous administration used various policies, such as Title 42 and the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), to close the U.S.-Mexico border to migrants seeking asylum. The Biden administration promised to adopt a fairer and more humane approach towards people seeking asylum at the border but some of the worst policies, including Title 42, remain in effect and continue to force thousands of people to live in dangerous circumstances in Mexico or their home countries.
“The ACLU Border Humanity Project gives the public and lawmakers insight into what is happening at the border,” said Jonathan Blazer, ACLU’s Director of Border Strategies. “By understanding the experiences of people affected by harmful immigration and asylum policies, we open the door to creating fair policies that treat people humanely and with dignity and reaffirm our nation’s commitment to welcoming those who come to the U.S. seeking safety and freedom.”
The site also features information about the U.S. asylum system and includes an online storytelling forum that puts the faces of immigrants and those seeking to shape immigration policy front and center. Visitors can find and share these stories told by people seeking asylum, faith-based leaders, advocates and many others.
The site also features:
- Ways to get involved in the campaign by signing a petition, sharing a video testimonial, and elevating calls for action on social media.
- Infographics, FAQs, and articles giving visitors a better understanding of the difficult journey people fleeing persecution in their home countries undergo to secure safety in the United States.
- Recommendations for new policies and approaches that would welcome immigrants in a way that enhances our security, economy, and humanity.
- “Know Your Rights” information on immigration, detention, and deportation proceedings for people seeking asylum.
It is past time to end policies, such as Title 42, which misuses the COVID-19 pandemic to justify immediately expelling migrants seeking asylum, and other policies that have effectively closed the U.S. asylum system. Between Feb. 16, 2021 and Oct. 21, 2021, more than 7,647 people stuck in Mexico due to these policies were threatened, robbed, assaulted, kidnapped, raped, trafficked, or tortured. The asylum process must be restored and rebuilt to follow the law, reflect our values and prevent further suffering of people seeking refuge in the United States.
“This moment demands that we engage in a robust public conversation about what it means to seek asylum in the United States, while simultaneously challenging the cruel border policies that have effectively closed our nation’s doors to people fleeing violence and persecution,” said Monika Y. Langarica, immigrants’ rights staff attorney with the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. “We can rebuild an asylum system that respects the rights of all people at the border and fulfills our country’s moral and legal obligations to provide refuge to those seeking protection from harm.”
The ACLU Border Humanity Project was formed by the American Civil Liberties Union with the ACLU of Arizona, ACLU of New Mexico, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and the ACLU of Texas to advocate for rebuilding the asylum process and demanding an end to indiscriminate immigration detention and abuses of people at the border. The team consists of advocates, litigators, community leaders, and experts who are deeply engaged in working towards humane reforms along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.