JRS USA calls for safety and security of asylum seekers
28 June 2019
USA, 28 June 2019 – Jesuit Refugee Service USA is appalled by the tragic, and unacceptable, death of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month old daughter Valeria, as they attempted to cross the Rio Grande River in hopes of seeking asylum in the U.S. Witnessing this at our own border shines a light on the risks that millions of displaced persons are forced to take each day and the dire outcome when appropriate protection mechanisms are not in place.
“We stand in solidarity with all refugees and migrants who are forced to flee their homelands in search of safety and security. No mother or father would risk the death of their children if not compelled by untenable conditions in their country of origin” says Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director at JRS USA.
As an organization working with asylum seekers, refugees, and others who have been forcibly displaced in over 50 countries around the world, JRS witnesses first-hand the risks that individuals and families take as they flee their homes in search of peace.
U.S. national policies and procedures must uphold the right to petition for asylum, which is firmly established in both the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act and international law as a critical means of protection. Efforts to limit these critical protections jeopardize the health, safety, and security of all people.
JRS USA continues to oppose any effort to limit entry into the U.S. and requests for asylum based on place of origin, religion, or vulnerability. We call on policymakers to protect the rights of asylum seekers and continue the American tradition of providing due process to all.
At JRS Europe we support the statement of our colleagues at JRS USA because, unfortunately in Europe we witness all too similar tragedies where people lose their lives during their migration journey due to lack of safe and legal pathways to seek asylum.
The death of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month old daughter Valeria, as they attempted to cross the Rio Grande River in hopes of seeking asylum in the United States, reminds us that a principled approach towards the protection of people seeking safety is urgently needed not only from the European Union and its Member States but from every country around the globe. Such an approach must be driven by respect for the inalienable dignity of every human being and uphold their right to seek asylum.