NEW REPORT: How Offshoring and Externalization Policies Imperil the Right to Asylum

National Immigrant Justice Center, Release New Findings Underscoring Need to Uphold the Right to Asylum, and Protect Vulnerable People

WASHINGTON, DC — A new report released today from the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and, Pushing Back Protection: How Offshoring and Externalization Imperil the Right to Asylum, outlines how affluent nations like the United States, European Union Member States, and Australia prevent asylum seekers and migrants from reaching their shores – and how the U.S. should immediately come into compliance with the Refugee Convention, the Refugee Act of 1980, and uphold the right to asylum.

The report finds that by offshoring asylum obligations and externalizing enforcement actions, these nations have denied thousands of asylum seekers their legal rights, and are violating the core principle of the Refugee Convention – that of non-refoulement – the practice of not forcing refugees or asylum seekers to return to a country in which they are likely to be subjected to persecution. The harsh practices certain nations have used to keep vulnerable people away from their borders have resulted in unimaginable harm, including sexual violence, torture, and death. Offshoring and externalization tactics have also driven asylum seekers to take more dangerous routes – often to another nation’s border where they face similarly cruel and ineffective measures.

“There is an alarming, global trend to send asylum seekers to third countries while pressuring others to halt future asylum seekers, said Azadeh Erfani, NIJC Senior Policy Analyst. “The impact on asylum seekers is predictably devastating, exposing them to violence, trafficking, mental health crises, and death. These practices lean on failed deterrence policies and warped narratives that paint Black, Brown, and Indigenous asylum seekers as a danger to public health or national security. It is past time for the United States to champion protection over push-backs and uphold the rights and dignity of people seeking asylum at its shores or borders.”

“From mass drownings in the Mediterranean, to languishing in Australia’s offshore immigration jails, and kidnappings and extortion in Mexico, asylum seekers are suffering and dying all over the world as a result of affluent nations’ evading international and domestic obligations,” said Maria Garcia, Research Director. “The U.S. must learn from its prior offshoring practices, particularly as it relates to its cruel treatment of Haitian asylum seekers at sea and at Guantánamo Bay, and lead by example to keep vulnerable individuals safe. It is imperative that we act urgently to end these practices that push asylum seekers into dangerous conditions.”

Read the new report here: Pushing Back Protection: How Offshoring and Externalization Imperil the Right to Asylum

Read the Executive Summary here.

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