More than 70 million people have been forced to flee their homes, the largest number ever recorded. This global refugee crisis is made worse by countries closing their borders and turning their backs on the most vulnerable people. This is a humanitarian crisis, and it demands a more humane response.
At Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), we treat displaced people around the world for the physical and psychological scars of war and extreme violence, for hardships suffered along the journey, and for other essential medical needs. We hear their stories of suffering and survival, and want to make sure they get the support they deserve.
At a time when the global needs are greater than ever, the United States has slashed the number of refugee admissions to a historic low and threatened the asylum system.
The US government has imposed a series of harsh migration policies which treat people seeking safety as if they are criminals. People fleeing violence have been prosecuted, detained, abused, and deported for the legal act of seeking asylum. Under the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols, vulnerable people applying for asylum in the US are instead being sent back to dangerous places in Mexico and Central America to await their court hearings. These asylum seekers are often targeted by criminal groups for kidnapping and extortion.
Blocking safe routes to asylum only causes further harm to people whose lives are at risk.