THE Biden administration has imprisoned tens of thousands of asylum seekers in US prisons where they suffer lengthy detention, severe physical and psychological harm and other abuses, the Human Rights First group says in its new report.
The report called ‘I’m a prisoner here’ exposes the Biden administration as treating asylum seekers in the same way that Israel treats the Palestinians, with a detention policy that detains tens of thousands.
The Human Rights First group states that jailing asylum seekers is ‘inhumane, unnecessary, and wasteful’ and has needlessly subjected people to severe physical and psychological harm, medical neglect and discrimination, and many other harmful experiences.
The organiser of this assault is President Biden. Since he took office in January last year, asylum seekers were held in detention centres for 3.7 months on average.
This included those who passed their so-called credible fear interviews, during which an asylum seeker explains to an immigration officer why returning to their country of origin could put their life in danger.
The report found that the Biden administration was substituting for President Trump’s rights-violating policy a Democratic Party version of exactly the same.
In fact, more than 1.8 million expulsions have been conducted under Biden’s Title 42, with asylum seekers being sent back to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador or their country of origin.
The Biden administration has imprisoned some 22,000 immigrants in detention centres amid a surge in coronavirus infections.
The US administration has used this policy to summarily expel migrants more than 1,163,000 times without allowing them to see an immigration judge or an asylum officer, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) figures show.
Title 42 is being described by rights watchdogs as an unlawful and xenophobic Trump-era policy that weaponised public health to prevent vulnerable migrants from seeking asylum in the US and to expel them by the hundreds of thousands. So much for the Land of the Free!
The administration’s detention policy has ‘inflicted enormous trauma and suffering’, said the report’s author, Rebecca Gendelman, a Human Rights First attorney focusing on refugee protection research.
Gendelman recommended a shift from reliance on detention to community-case support programmes, which provide legal representation, housing and health care and are ‘a more humane and effective and less costly solution than immigration detention.’
Under the Biden presidency the detention policy is being used to detain asylum seekers from Black-majority countries on average for nearly 4.3 months – 27 per cent longer than those from other countries.
The report emphasises that very many people with serious medical conditions have died in detention. It cites the case of a Venezuelan man who was incarcerated for five months before dying of complications from AIDS, pneumonia, respiratory and kidney failure and Covid-19.
The report calls on the Biden administration ‘to alter course, stop jailing asylum seekers and treating them as enforcement ‘priorities’, use its legal authority to release them, and dismantle the unfixable US immigration detention system that violates human rights law.’ In fact, the opposite is happening and internationally the methods of the Trump and Biden administrations are being followed by the even cruder UK government.
It has decided that all asylum seekers will be sent to Rwanda, after a huge British government payment to the Rwanda regime.
Rwanda has seen massive racist killing drives in the recent past, and asylum seekers who are to be sold off to the custody of the Rwanda government are not guaranteed any different type of treatment.
The US and the UK have some of the most powerful trade unions on the planet.
These must now use their power to stand up for the oppressed and demand that all asylum seekers are welcome to the US and the UK, and that it is the ruling classes of the US and the UK that must pay for their attacks on the working people of the world by having their banks and businesses expropriated and put under workers management and a workers government. This is the way forward!