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Statement on the Protection of the Human Rights of Migrants Resolution
June 22, 2017


Statement by the United States of America

Human Rights Council, 35th Session

The United States joins consensus on the “Protection of the Human Rights of Migrants” resolution and looks forward to working with Member States during the remainder of the intergovernmental consultations and negotiations leading to the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly, and regular migration in 2018.

In joining consensus on the resolution, we would like to clarify our views on several elements in the text. First, we underscore our understanding that none of the provisions in this resolution create or affect rights or obligations of States under international law. The United States will pursue the commitments in the resolution consistent with U.S. law and policy and the federal government’s authority. In pursuing these goals, the United States will also continue to take steps to ensure national security, protect territorial sovereignty, and maintain the health and safety of its people, including by exercising its rights and responsibilities to prevent irregular migration and control its borders, consistent with international obligations.

With respect to the preambular language related to the best interest of children and due process, the U.S. government draws from a wide range of available resources to safely process migrant children, in accordance with applicable laws and is committed to ensuring that migrant children are treated in a safe, dignified, and secure manner. The United States believes that its current practices with respect to children are consistent with this commitment. Further, the United States provides appropriate procedural safeguards for all migrants, including asylum seekers, and we interpret the resolution’s reference to due process and other protections, including in the context of returns, to be consistent with our existing national laws and policies in this regard.

The United States dissociates from the language concerning the criminalization of irregular migration. The United States supports the language expressing concern regarding xenophobia and hostility to migrants, which is an increasing problem that all should address. However, consistent with the statement which recalls “that each State has a sovereign right to determine whom to admit to its territory, subject to that State’s international obligations,” the United States maintains its right to enforce its immigration laws, including through its criminal laws, consistent with its national security interests and in accordance with its domestic laws. We find no need to express concern in this regard. We view this as a separate issue from combatting xenophobia, and regret that the concepts were linked in the same paragraph in the resolution.

The United States looks forward to advancing the objectives of this resolution, including through voluntary practical actions to be elaborated during the negotiation of the non-binding global compact on safe, orderly, and regular migration in 2018.