The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project condemns the administration’s plan to turn back asylum seekers and many other foreign nationals attempting to enter the United States at the southern border.

While we believe that public health is of the utmost importance, we must also never abandon our duty to those seeking safety and refuge in the United States. It is also essential to remember that the humane and swift processing of immigrants arriving at our border is part of both border security and public health. We urge the administration to reconsider this plan and find solutions to simultaneously offer asylum seekers the protection they are owed under U.S. and international law and keep safe those who are already detained. Further, there are far more reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. than in Mexico or other Central American countries. We must take measures to keep all of the public, including the newest arrivals, safe.

For the last three years, the administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and fearmongering have been escalating, and this is another attempt to divide Americans and sow fear and hatred for others. Viruses do not respect borders, and they do not discriminate. This is a global pandemic, and we must come together to protect those in need, not turn them away.