Tuesday 22 January 2019
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reliefweb - 11 days ago

United States of America: Zero Protection: How U.S. Border Enforcement Harms Migrant Safety and Health

Source: Physicians for Human Rights Country: United States of America, World
By Kathryn Hampton, MSt Executive Summary Over the past three decades, U.S. administrations from both parties have introduced border enforcement strategies that have led to the deaths or injuries of a growing number of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Public health research has documented widening racial and ethnic health disparities as a result of punitive and discriminatory immigration enforcement practices within the militarized border zone. This policy brief provides an analysis of current concerns at the border, including ways that health professionals are implicated in human rights violations, and provides recommendations for the U.S. government and for health systems to protect the rights and health of migrants. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) analyzed documentation with respect to several ongoing areas of harmful practices arising from border enforcement activities and found numerous human rights violations, including that: Despite the existence of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Use of Force Policy, Guidelines and Procedures Handbook, migrants are still being injured and killed in the course of enforcement acti
CBP officials impede and criminalize volunteer first responders who are providing lifesaving assistance to migrants in the field by arresting them and filing federal charges against
CBP officials have been documented destroying humanitarian assi
CBP officials have used medical personnel to conduct body searches without warrants or c In violation of U.S. asylum law, CBP is preventing asylum seekers from crossing legally at ports of entry, and deporting individuals with medical conditions through official ports of entry without having secured safe medical r and
CBP’s law enforcement arm, the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP), conducts enforcement actions in and around hospitals, in violation of the Sensitive Locations policy, and violates U.S. and international law by using hospitals as de facto detention centers where patients are denied access to legal counsel and contact with family members. In summary, CBP officials regularly misinterpret or even disregard the limits of their legal authority while conducting border enforcement activities, constituting human rights violations and resulting in harms to health. PHR calls on the CBP to improve staff compliance with existing border enforcement guidelines by clarifying guidelines and improving training, as well as investigating and sanctioning all violations committed by personnel. CBP must also work with civil society groups operating at the border in order to prevent fatalities and decrease health risks. The U.S. Congress can support rights-respecting border management by codifying existing CBP operational guidelines into law, and exercising oversight over the Department of Homeland Security and its agencies in regard to compliance with legal obligations.

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