• 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

  • 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.
  • Nov 20, 2014
    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 planned executive action on immigration should include relief for family members at the border.
  • Nov 13, 2014
    It’s time for the Obama administration and Congress to stop fast-tracking Central American migrants for deportation and allow them adequate opportunity to make a claim for asylum.
  • Nov 5, 2014
  • Oct 16, 2014
    The 44-page report, “‘You Don’t Have Rights Here’: US Border Screening and Returns of Central Americans to Risk of Serious Harm,” details the US border policies and practices that place migrants at risk of serious harm back home, based on the accounts of people sent back to Honduras, people in detention, and an analysis of deportation data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
  • Oct 8, 2014
  • Sep 9, 2014
  • Aug 14, 2014
    The humanitarian crisis of undocumented Central American children may have faded from the headlines, but the problem has not gone away.
  • Jul 29, 2014
    The US Congress should support greater due process protections for migrant families rather than increasing funding for facilities to detain those crossing the US southern border, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • Jul 25, 2014
    The United States has failed to comply with key protections under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), Human Rights Watch said today. The US, which ratified the treaty in 1994, will appear before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination for a periodic review of its record on August 13 and 14, 2014, in Geneva.