President Donald Trump has promised to move quickly to implement his agenda for change in the US. Many of the policies and pledges made by Trump and his cabinet nominees pose profound threats to the rights of people both within the US and abroad. In the coming critical weeks, Human Rights Watch experts will provide rolling coverage and analysis of the rights implications as the new government’s agenda unfolds.
US Congress: Reject Trump Anti-Immigrant Funding
The United States Congress should reject President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 2017 supplemental funding request for a dramatic expansion of immigration detention and enforcement, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to congressional leaders. See full release here.
Does Anyone Still Believe Marijuana Is a Gateway Drug?
United States Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly certainly does. He declared in a speech today that marijuana is a “dangerous gateway drug,” and that this makes marijuana offenses fair game for “targeted operations against illegal aliens.” But most Americans no longer believe that marijuana is dangerous. Instead, data shows that the public really believes people arrested for marijuana rarely go on to commit violent crimes. Nevertheless, when a marijuana offense is used as a reason to brand an immigrant as the kind of “criminal” who should be removed from the country as a threat to public safety, the consequences are devastating, writes HRW's Grace Meng.
Maribel Trujillo Diaz has four young US citizen children, aged 14, 12, 10, and 3. She’s the main breadwinner for her household and has lived in the United States for 15 years. She is undocumented, but she has no criminal convictions. Yet she has been deported back to Mexico. Trujillo’s deportation punishes her US citizen family, now dealing with a devastating separation, writes HRW's Clara Long.
In a recent speech announcing new “get tough on immigrants” policies, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said it was necessary to take a “stand” against “transnational gangs like MS-13 and international cartels.” But he would do well to take a hard look at the unintended consequences of the United States’ own past hardline policies, writes HRW's John Raphling.
Rex Tillerson’s made his first visit to Russia as secretary of state this week and while he met with President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and other top officials, he didn’t meet with any of Russia’s civil society leaders. This is a break from past practice for US - and a dangerous precedent, writes HRW's Rachel Denber. \
After deciding not to push forward with an unpopular and flawed health care bill in March, the US House is considering a new version of the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Yet many women in the US rely on the ACA and on Planned Parenthood, which would be blocked from receiving Medicaid reimbursements—essentially defunding it-- under current drafts of the bill. Here are a few of their stories, by Amy Braunschweiger.
Congressional efforts to draft a new version of a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act may be just as threatening to women across the United States as the previous Republican-sponsored bill, says HRW.