Video Briefing: Are Refugees Illegal?


There are over 68 million forcibly displaced people in the world seeking refuge from violence, war and persecution. That includes nearly 30 million refugees and asylum seekers who have been forced to leave their home country in search of safety.

Increasingly, asylum-seekers from around the world are trekking through south and central America and Mexico to the Southern Border of the United States.

The largest group of these asylum seekers are from the Northern Triangle of Central America which includes the countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

These countries have been plagued by extreme violence and are considered some of the most dangerous places in the world, especially for women and children.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to asylum from persecution in other countries. The 1951 UN Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol became federal law in the United States through the Refugee Act of 1980 making it illegal to return refugees to countries where they risk being killed, tortured or persecuted on the basis of a protected status.

So, under both International and US federal law, refugees have a legal right to ask for asylum, regardless of how they cross the border.

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TorchLight Legal Communications is launching a series of articles and media resources to provide clear, understandable information about what is happening at our southern border today, what it means for civil liberties, and what we can do. There will be resources for refugees and other immigrants, U.S.-based allies, and those seeking to become allies.

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