WASHINGTON — The following is a statement from Astrid Dominguez, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas’ Border Rights Center, regarding President Trump’s planned visit to the Southwestern border today:

“The Trump administration has wreaked havoc on border communities and the ability of people to seek refuge over the past four years. Trump brought our asylum system to a halt, separated children from their parents, destroyed protected lands to further border wall construction, and emboldened CBP agents to operate with impunity. Now, in the middle of a pandemic and shortly after his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol, it is unconscionable that he would travel to the very communities that have been devastated by his actions, including his failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We stand firmly with the people of the Rio Grande Valley in opposition to Trump’s visit to celebrate the wall and his racist anti-immigrant legacy. This only raises the imperative for the Biden-Harris administration to reverse these policies and work to repair the damage.”

The following is a statement from Jonathan Blazer, director of border strategies for the ACLU:

“Trump’s border visit is an unsurprising end for a president who began his political career dehumanizing immigrants. Unfortunately, while his presidency will end by next week, the ruthless border and immigration policies he enacted threaten to become his enduring legacy. This is why we need swift and decisive action from the Biden-Harris administration to chart a different course, including the immediate restoration of asylum for people seeking protection. 

“This trip is a stark reminder of the families forcibly separated at the border and other abuses carried forth by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. In just the past two years, at least seven children died in CBP custody or shortly after being released. At Border Patrol stations, kids went days without enough food or toothbrushes, and people endured freezing temperatures and filthy cells, held virtually incommunicado for days. Border Patrol agents subjected pregnant people to physical mistreatment, verbal abuse, and severe delays in medical care; one woman was forced to give birth to her baby while standing up, holding on to the side of a trash can in a Border Patrol station. 

“This final calling card from Trump should be a wake up call for President-elect Biden to end CBP’s role in detention and in processing of people seeking asylum, limit CBP’s use of force, and create new mechanisms to ensure that CBP’s abuses are promptly investigated. We need a reckoning on the role and power of CBP, now.”

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