Video footage of Senator discussing the report’s findings is available here
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today released a sweeping new report detailing the Trump administration’s gutting of the legal asylum system. The report includes previously unreported, direct evidence of whistleblowers raising alarms within the asylum division.
For several years, the Trump administration has tried to prevent people from arriving in America through deterrence, legally dubious strategies to blockade ports of entry from people seeking asylum, and other strategies. This report, relying in part on administration whistleblowers, describes a less-familiar, concerted campaign to undermine the American asylum system.
“America should be a land of hope and refuge—the place President Reagan called a shining city on a hill,” said Merkley. “We’ve seen the betrayal of that vision by the Trump administration’s intentional infliction of trauma on children and families as a warning to others to stay away. Now we know that when that strategy failed, the administration set out to gut the American asylum system from within. Their draconian actions were so contrary to American values and law that at least one whistleblower felt they could not morally or legally carry out their orders.
“America can have a fair, legal immigration system that faithfully implements our laws and treats every individual with decency and respect—but to get there, we must first undo the destruction President Trump has wrought on our immigration system,” Merkley concluded.
This report follows on Senator Merkley’s previous work exposing the Trump administration’s cruel and dangerous immigration policies. In June 2018, Merkley set off a national firestorm when he exposed the Trump administration’s family separation policy. Merkley was the first Senator to visit the border to investigate that policy, and turned the eyes of the nation to this cruel new policy when he went to investigate a child detention center in Brownsville, Texas and was barred from entering.