U.S. Government is a No Show at Human Rights Hearing

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
The administration’s absence demonstrates their disregard for democracy and disdain for the people that Trump’s immigration executive orders are impacting

Washington, DC – In a hearing today on the impact of Trump’s immigration executive orders at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), there was a noticeable absence – the United States government. The government’s nonattendance in the IACHR hearing, whose mission is to promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere, is unprecedented and further demonstrates the Trump administration’s complete disdain for the people that his immigration executive orders are impacting.

The hearing comes a week after the Trump administration requested Congressional approval for a $3 billion supplemental budget to significantly increase the number of people locked up in detention centers and dramatically expand the deportation force. With detention already at a historic high and proven to be deadly, the Trump administration continues to double down on their anti-immigrant agenda.

Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) Resistance, who testified at the hearing with the support of the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Washington, and Detention Watch Network respond to the government’s decision to disengage from today’s hearings:

Maru Mora Villalpando, from NWDC Resistance, said “Today in my testimony, I represented the voices of those impacted by Trump’s executive orders that have unleashed a new tide of racism and hatred against people of color. The Trump administration’s absence leaves no doubt that that they do not care about immigrant voices and the human rights violations that we face every day through detention, raids and racial profiling. The absence of the State today, after nearly 20 years of continuous presence at this table, is a symbol of the deterioration of U.S. democracy and the international leadership the U.S. claimed to have. We urge the Commission to start diplomatic conversations and to overturn such a sudden and unacceptable unilateral move.”

Silky Shah, from Detention Watch Network, said, “The U.S. government’s no show at today’s hearing on human rights demonstrates this administration’s complete disregard for the democratic process and is a slap in the face to the international community. The administration's  absence from IACHR, an arm of the Organization of American States, which primarily engages Latin America States, perpetuates Trump’s white supremacist agenda. We call on the Commission to publicly denounce the administration’s disengagement from a longstanding and respected democratic process.”


NWDC Resistance is a volunteer community group that emerged against deportations in 2014 at the now-infamous Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA with the Not1more campaign, and then supported people detained who organized hunger strikes by asking a halt to all deportations and better treatment and conditions.

Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit www.detentionwatchnetwork.org. Follow @DetentionWatch.