Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar told a crowd in Minneapolis that the United Nations should be deployed at the southern border to manage the immigration crisis, claiming that the U.S has committed human rights abuses.
“There is no good way to detain immigrants,” Omar said Tuesday before during a forum in south Minneapolis, according to the Star Tribune. “We are treating people like criminals when they have not committed a crime.”
“Listen, folks. We’re really losing our moral high ground,” she continued. “It doesn’t make any sense for us to be committing these kind of human rights violations, to have these policies in the way we interact with migrants and asylum seekers if we want to continue to be the kind of country that condemns countries in Africa, in Asia or Latin American countries for its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.”
The freshman lawmaker then said that the best way to address the crisis is to involve the United Nations.
“So we should do what any other country does, by dealing with this situation in a serious way. So we have to bring in the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, an agency that has the expertise and the training to handle massive flows of refugees humanely,” Omar, herself a refugee from Somalia, said Tuesday.
Omar’s comments as the U.S. continues to deal with an unprecedented number of illegal immigrants arriving at the southern border. A total of 760,370 apprehensions have been made by Border Patrol during the current fiscal year, according to figures provided by Customs and Border Protection. Agents also turned away an additional 102,415 at the border.
The situation, while it has eased somewhat during the hot summer months, has left immigration authorities incapable of processing all the immigrants in a timely manner, resulting in hundreds of thousands of family units being released into the interior of the country.
The Trump administration has implemented, or has tried to implement, a slate of measures to address the crisis, such as changes to the Flores settlement, Remain in Mexico, border wall construction, safe third country agreements and additional funding for immigration enforcement.
President Donald Trump’s hawkish immigration reforms have caused many Democrats to shift left on the issue. Omar, in particular, has openly called for the complete abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency under Homeland Security that carries out the deportation of illegal immigration.
While applying for asylum in the U.S. is perfectly legal, it is against the law to enter the country outside of a port of entry, a point that was made to New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during a congressional hearing in July.
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