Briefing: Coronavirus and the halting of asylum at the US-Mexico border

Policies put in place by the administration of US President Donald Trump have cut off access to asylum in the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, sent COVID-19-positive people back to Latin American countries — where outbreaks are now spiraling — and exacerbated an already dire situation for asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border. 

Human rights groups worry that the damage done will outlast the pandemic. The Trump administration “found that the pandemic gives them the perfect excuse to do what they wanted to do since day one, which is end access to asylum at the southern border,” Charanya Krishnaswami, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, told The New Humanitarian. 

Due to policies put in place during the pandemic by the Trump administration, more than 40,000 people have been expelled from the United States after crossing the US-Mexico border and over 30,000 more asylum seekers are living in limbo in often dangerous situations in northern Mexico.


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