Human Rights Initiative Statement on Border Closure and Turnbacks of Asylum Seekers


March 20, 2020
Contact: Kali Cohn |

DALLAS – On March 20, 2020, President Trump announced a border shutdown, which appears to implement the President’s confirmation yesterday that his Administration planned to turn away asylum seekers seeking safety in the United States.

“We echo the call of the United Nations, leading human rights organizations and immigration lawyers from across the country: in this crisis, America cannot shut the door in the faces of our siblings from across the world with nowhere else to go,” said Pilar Ferguson, Human Rights Initiative of North Texas’s Asylum Program Director. “Closing the border to people who have credibly shown they are fleeing persecution creates even more danger in this difficult moment. There are ways the U.S. government can continue screening asylum seekers that address the very real public health concerns. Let’s rise to the occasion.”

About Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
Founded by social worker Serena Simmons Connelly and lawyer Elizabeth Healy, the Dallas-based Human Rights Initiative of North Texas has grown into an award-winning agency helping immigrant survivors of human rights abuses from all over the world. Our courageous and resilient clients are eligible to apply for legal status under the humanitarian provisions of U.S. immigration laws and policies: they are asylum seekers fleeing persecution; children who have been abandoned, abused, and neglected; and victims of family violence and violent crimes. HRI’s Legal team partners with a network of over 250 pro bono attorneys from top DFW firms and corporations to help clients access the U.S. immigration system, and our Social Services team offers transitional support and referrals to help address trauma and ease the hardships of profound displacement. At HRI, all of our services are free, and all are designed to help forge a path to safety, stability and opportunity. For more information, visit


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