• While international law permits states to establish immigration policies and deportation procedures, it does not grant them discretion to violate human rights in the process. The United States regularly fails to uphold international human rights law in its immigration laws and enforcement policies, by violating the rights of immigrants to fair treatment at the hands of government, to proportional sanctions, to freedom from arbitrary detention, to respect for the right to family unity, and to protection from return to persecution. Such policies violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Refugee Convention, treaties to which the United States is party.

  • Mario Chavez shares a moment with his wife, Lizeth Chavez, through the border fence at Playas de Tijuana during a weekend family visit. Mario, a US citizen, cannot not leave the US because of parole restrictions, and Lizeth, a Mexican citizen, does not have a visa to go to the United States.
    The United States government should urgently reform its unfair immigration system to uphold the basic rights of non-citizens and provide a path to legal status for the country’s unauthorized immigrants, Human Rights Watch said in a policy briefing released today. While the Senate and White House proposals are a good start, more attention should be paid to ongoing abuses in enforcement policies.

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Unfair Immigration Policies

  • Mar 2, 2015
    On March 2nd, 2015, Human Rights Watch sent this written statement to the United States Commission on Civil Rights for its January 30, 2015 briefing on the “State of Civil Rights at Immigration Detention Facilities.”
  • Feb 17, 2015
  • Jan 29, 2015
    State and local officials in the United States should address racial discrimination and police abuse in the criminal justice system that sparked widespread demonstrations last year.
  • Jan 23, 2015
    Contrary to the assertions of overreach by House Republicans, President Obama's executive actions on immigrants actually don't go far enough.
  • Jan 8, 2015
    The following Q&A explores the human rights impact of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, highlighting what remains to be accomplished as the new Congress begins its work and the Obama administration enters its final two years in office.
  • Jan 8, 2015
    President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive action on immigration protects millions of families in the US but leaves major rights concerns unaddressed. Obama and the Congress should act to end harsh treatment at the border, unnecessary detention, and unfair criminal penalties that tear families apart.
  • Jan 8, 2015
    The US government is summarily deporting parents of US citizen children apprehended at the border despite their deep ties to the United States. President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration did not address existing border removal policies that punish and provide no relief to families that have already been separated by harsh and overly inclusive deportation policies.
  • Dec 9, 2014
    Human Rights Watch submits the following statement to the Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights on current human rights challenges facing the United States, and how Congress should address them.
  • Dec 8, 2014
    The US Department of Justice long-awaited reforms to its rules on racial profiling still permit discriminatory practices against minority groups and migrants. However, the new guidance allows community profiling and profiling in US border areas.
  • Nov 21, 2014
    US President Barack Obama’s decision to suspend the deportation of certain unauthorized migrants will protect millions of people from the corrosive threat of removal, Human Rights Watch said today. The plan outlined, while deficient in key respects, will keep eligible families intact and help immigrants resist workplace and other abuses without fear of deportation.