• About HRLR
  • Issues
  • News
  • Contact
  • Submissions
  • HRLR Online

Trump Human Rights Tracker

With each day bringing fresh news of a damaging initiative by the President of the United States, it is difficult to keep up with all that the new Administration is doing that threatens human rights. To aid journalists, civil society organizations, and the general public, the Columbia Human Rights Law Review and Columbia Law School’s Rightslink, Human Rights Clinic, and Human Rights Institute have launched this regularly updated tool to keep track of Trump’s actions and their impacts on human rights. It summarizes the action taken by the President, identifies the human rights implications, and provides links to sources where readers can find more detailed analysis. Input from those using this tool is welcome at trumphumanrights@gmail.com.
Tex

Subscribe to the Trump Human Rights Tracker Mailing List.

Trump Human Rights Tracker

ActionDateExplanationHuman Rights ImplicationsSources and Further Info
Did not attend hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human RightsMar. 21, 2017In a move described as “unprecedented,” the United States did not attend hearings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on March 21, 2017 concerning the human rights situation in the U.S. The IACHR hearings that the U.S. pulled out of were covering a number of Trump Administration policies, including the Muslim ban and immigration and detention policies.

The State Department sought to justify its absence by referencing ongoing litigation in the U.S. regarding the Muslim ban; however, ongoing litigation has not previously prevented U.S. delegations from appearing before the IACHR on related matters.

The IACHR is an independent body of the Organization of American States and has received the full support of all U.S. Administrations since its founding.
Undermines U.S. commitment to regional and international human rights and to the institutions set up by governments to monitor human rightsACLU

Just Security

Huffington Post

Voice of America

L.A. Times

Human Rights at Home Blog (JoAnn Kamuf Ward)
Reinstated ban on entry to the US for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days

Reinstated ban on all refugees entering the US for 120 days
Mar. 6, 2017Signed an Executive Order that imposes a 90-day ban on the entry of nationals from 6 Muslim-majority countries–Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen–for immigration and non-immigration purposes. This ban materially reproduces a previous Executive Order, signed on January 27, which was blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on February 9.

By the terms of the new Executive Order, individuals from the suspended countries who held a valid visa on January 27, or who are currently holding a valid visa, or who are dual-nationals of a non-suspended country, are still eligible for entry. The Order also provides a number of enumerated exceptions that may enable entry of certain individuals from suspended countries on a case-by-case basis in the discretion of a consular officer.

The Executive Order further reinstates a 120 day ban on the entry of all refugees to the US–a provision which was included in the January 27 Executive Order that was blocked by the Ninth Circuit. This new version does not include the previous indefinite suspension on refugees from Syria.

UPDATES

On March 15, a federal district court in Hawaii temporarily blocked the ban nationwide once more, stating that a reasonable, objective observer would not view the order as "religiously neutral" and citing many of Trump's political campaign speeches as evidence that the executive order was intended to temporarily suspended the entry of Muslims specifically.
Violates right to non-discrimination

Threatens right to freedom of religion

Undermines right to education

Undermines right to family life
ACLU

Human Rights Watch

Amnesty International

National Immigration Law Center

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Center for Constitutional Rights

N.Y. Times

Washington Post
Secretary of State did not attend annual presentation of State Department’s human rights reportMar. 3, 2017The Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson chose not to attend the annual presentation of the State Department’s human rights report. It is highly unusual for a Secretary of State not to present the report in person. The annual report is a vital document for monitoring global human rights violations and is used by advocates, practitioners, and scholars around the world. The presentation of the report lends weight to its findings.

No State Department official made on the record comments about the report.
Signals lowered commitment to protecting human rights globallyWashington Post

Human Rights First

The Guardian

Human Rights Watch (Trump’s First 100 Days Blog Feed)

Wall Street Journal

The Hill

Bloomberg
Requested the dismissal of a discriminatory purpose claim in a challenge to a Texas voter ID lawFeb. 28, 2017The Department of Justice (DOJ) reversed its position in a case challenging SB14 - a Texas voter ID law which disproportionately diminishes the ability of African Americans and Latinos to participate in the political process. The Texas voter ID law had required voters to present photo identification from a very limited list before casting a ballot. The law was challenged on the grounds that minorities were less likely to have the acceptable forms of identification than white voters.

As a plaintiff in the case alongside a coalition of civil rights groups, the DOJ had argued that the Texas law violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. In requesting that the discriminatory purpose claim be dismissed, the DOJ retreated from a position that it had steadfastly supported for the last six years.

While the other parties to the suit will proceed with the case, the DOJ’s decision to dismiss the case could have wider implications in similar cases where the DOJ had previously defended the rights of minority voters.
Undermines right to due process

Undermines right to non-discrimination

Undermines right to vote and take part in the political process

Undermines the right to freedom of expression

Risks right to equal protection before the law
The Campaign Legal Center

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under the Law

Slate

N.Y. Times

NPR

Talking Points Memo
Withdrew federal guidelines that had made clear that students could use bathrooms matching their gender identityFeb. 22, 2017The Department of Justice and the Department of Education withdrew a policy requiring all federally-funded schools to treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity, including with respect to access to bathrooms and other gender-segregated facilities and activities, and the use of pronouns.

This decision leaves it to states and local school districts to decide what policy to follow, and leaves transgender students vulnerable to local policies that deny them equal access to educational programs, activities, and facilities, and that create an unsafe and discriminatory environment.
Undermines right to non-discrimination

Undermines right to education

Undermines right to sanitation for all persons

Undermines right to privacy

Risks right to security of the person
Ria Tabacco Mar of the ACLU (N.Y. Times Op-Ed)

Astrea Foundation

Human Rights Watch

Lambda Legal

N.Y. Times
Issued enforcement policies ordering the expanded arrest, detention, and deportation of undocumented migrantsFeb. 21, 2017The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued two memoranda mandating aggressive enforcement of immigration laws and the two Executive Orders of January 25, 2017, including by:

- drastically expanding deportation of undocumented immigrants. The policies target those convicted of not just serious criminal offenses, as under previous policies, but any criminal offense. The policies also single out those charged, but not convicted, of an offense, those merely alleged to have committed an offense, and those who “otherwise pose a threat to public safety or national security” in the judgment of an immigration officer, amongst others.

- increasing the number of people vulnerable to an expedited removals process without review. All those who have been in the country for less than two years will now ordinarily be subject to an expedited removals process. The previous policy limited this only to people found by the authorities within 100 miles of the border and who had been in the country less than 14 days.

- presumptively detaining undocumented immigrants pending removal proceedings, ending all policies which allowed persons to receive parole and be released awaiting immigration proceedings in some cases.

- stripping immigrants from privacy protections under the Privacy Act.
Undermines right to due process

Undermines right to privacy

Risks right to liberty and security of the person

Risks right to family life
N.Y. Times

ACLU

Human Rights Watch

N.Y. Times Editorial Board

America’s Voice
Repealed a rule restricting coal companies from dumping mine waste in streamsFeb. 16, 2017Signed a bill undoing the Office of Surface Mining's Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste. With the rule’s cancellation, coal mining companies will now have a freer hand to dump toxic metals and debris into streams, activity that can have dire impacts for the environment and for the health of communities living nearby. Risks right to a healthy environment

Risks right to water

Risks right to health
NRDC

EarthJustice

Vox

The Hill
Cancelled a regulation requiring energy and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governmentsFeb. 14, 2017Signed a bill cancelling a Security Exchange Commission (SEC) transparency regulation that would have required oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose in detail payments made to foreign governments.

The now-cancelled regulation, implementing Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (also known as the Cardin-Luger anti-corruption provision), was intended to “combat global corruption and empower citizens of resource-rich countries to hold their governments accountable.”

As the United Nations has repeatedly recognized, corruption undermines all human rights, compromising a government’s ability to fulfill economic and social rights, introducing discrimination in access to governmental services, weakening democratic institutions, and impeding respect for the rule of law.
Undermines right to information

Undermines right to political participation

Undermines right to development
Oxfam America

Publish What You Pay USA

Washington Post

Politico

Bloomberg

Rules at Risk

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Withdrew motion to stay in transgender students bathroom rights caseFeb. 10, 2017The Department of Justice withdrew a request to limit an injunction which blocked an Obama administration guidance that directs public schools to allow transgender students access to bathrooms and other gender-segregated facilities that match their gender identity.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals which was set to hear oral arguments on the case, granted the request and cancelled oral arguments. The government’s withdrawal not only leaves the nationwide injunction in place, but signals a shift from the previous administration’s position to uphold the rights and protections of transgender students.

Note that the Supreme Court may have some guidance on the issue of legal protections for transgender students next month as it is set to hear arguments in a challenge brought by a transgender Virginia student against his school’s discriminatory bathroom policy.
Undermines right to non-discrimination

Undermines right to equality before the law

Undermines right to sanitation for all persons

Risks right to education (note particularly CESCR General Comment 13)

Undermines right to privacy

Risks right to security of the person
Human Rights Campaign

National Center for Transgender Equality

ACLU

Huffington Post

N.Y. Times

Washington Post
Removal of animal welfare reports from USDA websiteFeb. 3, 2017The US Department of Agriculture has removed a series of reports from its website regarding animal welfare inspections and enforcement that were previously used by journalists and advocacy groups to monitor the treatment of animals at commercial dog and horse breeding facilities and animal testing labs, including some with a history of abuse.

The decrease in transparency will substantially inhibit the efforts of animal welfare organizations to monitor and promote compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, and to participate in regulatory policy-making and reform.
Undermines right to information

Undermines right to participation
Humane Society

National Geographic

N.Y. Times

Science Magazine
Ban on entry to the US for citizens of Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya for 90 daysJan. 27, 2017Signed an Executive Order that immediately imposes a 90-day ban on the entry of nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for immigrant and nonimmigrant purposes.

The ban could be extended beyond the 90 days and to other countries.

UPDATES

On February 2, 2017, the ban was amended to allow for immigration by the families of Iraqi interpreters who served U.S. forces.

On February 9, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court ruling blocking key parts of the travel ban (at least pending further litigation), and allowing nationals of the seven affected countries with valid documentation the right to enter the country.

On March 6, 2017, President Trump signed a new Executive Order that imposes a 90-day ban on the entry of nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for immigration and non-immigration purposes. Nationals from Iraq are no longer included in the ban. See Trump Tracker post for this March 6 action.
Violates right to non-discrimination

Threatens right to freedom of religion

Undermines right to education

Undermines right to family life
United Nations Secretary General

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN Special Rapporteurs on Racism, Torture, Counterterrorism, Migrants, and Religion

ACLU

Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies & CLS Human Rights Clinic

Human Rights Watch

Amnesty International UK

Just Security (David Cole)

Just Security (Jay Shooster)

African Studies Association
Ban on all refugees entering the US for 120 days

Indefinite ban on Syrian refugees
Jan. 27, 2017Signed an Executive Order that directs the Secretary of State to immediately suspend all refugee admissions to the United States for a period of 120 days, and to review with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence whether additional procedures should be taken.

The Executive Order also indefinitely prohibits entry of all Syrian refugees into the United States until President Trump determines sufficient changes have been made to the refugee admissions process.

UPDATES

On February 6, 2017, a coalition of more than 40 civil society organizations requested an emergency hearing on the Executive Order from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The letter to the Inter-American Commission can be found here.

On February 9, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court ruling blocking key parts of the travel ban (at least pending further litigation).

On March 6, 2017, the President signed a new Executive Order reinstating the 120 day ban. This new version does not include the indefinite suspension on refugees from Syria. See Trump Tracker post for this March 6 action.
Violates right of non-discrimination based on race, religion, or country of origin

Violates the right to seek and enjoy asylum

Violates principle of non-refoulement

Risks right to life of asylum seekers
United Nations Secretary General

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN Special Rapporteurs on Racism, Torture, Counterterrorism, Migrants, and Religion

Amnesty International

Human Rights Watch

IRAP

Just Security (Jay Shooster)

Just Security (James C. Hathaway)

Opinio Juris

Al Jazeera

Just Security (Meg Satterthwaite & Alexandra Zetes)
Limitation of privacy rights for non US citizensJan. 25, 2017Signed an Executive Order that forces agencies to exclude from their privacy policies anyone who is not a US citizen or US permanent resident.

Contradicts and may damage the Privacy Shield agreement between the US and the EU; may therefore limit the ability of US companies to serve customers from the EU.
Undermines right to privacy of all non US citizens/non US residentsBrookings

Engadget

Forbes

Epic

Access Now
Seeks to block federal funding to sanctuary citiesJan. 25, 2017Signed an Executive Order to block Federal government funding for “sanctuary jurisdictions.” These are places where state and/or local government authorities have adopted formal or informal policies that limit cooperation with federal immigration officials. Risks due process rights

Risks right to personal liberty

Risks right to family life
Human Rights Watch

Immigration Legal Resource Center

N.Y. Times
Revived discredited “Secure Communities” program

Paved way for expanded immigration detention and deportation

Ordered the construction of a wall along the border with Mexico
Jan. 25, 2017Signed two Executive Orders (here and here) which revive a program of involving local police in the enforcement of immigration laws; expand indefinite detention of undocumented immigrants, including families, without evidence they pose any threat; increase removal proceedings for a broader class of immigrants charged with, yet not necessarily convicted of, crimes; and advance construction of a border wall with Mexico.

UPDATES

Since the signing of this Executive Order on January 25, immigration raids have been conducted in at least six states, leading to the arrest of hundreds of undocumented immigrants, including some with no criminal record.
Risks the right to freedom from arbitrary detention

Risks the right to freedom from discrimination

Risks due process rights

Risks right to freedom from cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment

Risks the right to seek and enjoy asylum

Interferes with the fulfillment of economic and social rights
Immigration Legal Resource Center

ACLU

Center for Constitutional Rights

Human Rights Watch

Vox

University of Texas School of Law Human Rights Clinic (final report is located here)
Advanced construction of previously halted Dakota Access & Keystone PipelinesJan. 24, 2017Signed a Presidential Memorandum inviting re-applications for the Keystone pipeline, which had been suspended in 2015, and instructs federal agencies to expedite approval.

Signed a Presidential Memorandum instructing federal agencies to review and expedite requests for approvals to construct and operate the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was halted in 2016 after indigenous groups protested its construction, and for failure to adequately consider the pipeline’s impact on the environment and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Undermines indigenous rights

Undermines right to culture

Risks right to water

Risks right to health

Risks right to healthy environment
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Amnesty International USA

Sierra Club

Al Jazeera

NPR
Reinstated and broadened “global gag” ruleJan. 23, 2017Signed a Presidential Memorandum blocking federal funding for international NGOs or programs that provide information, counseling, or referrals for abortion services, provide abortion services, or advocate for a woman’s right to seek abortion services as part of comprehensive reproductive health care.Undermines women’s rights

Risks women’s right to health

Risks women’s right to life
Center for Reproductive Rights

Planned Parenthood

Naral Pro-Choice America

Vox

Human Rights Watch

Comments are closed.

~~
VISIT JLM WEBSITE
Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual
The HRLR publishes and sells A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual (“the JLM”), a legal resource produced to assist prisoners and others in negotiating the U.S. legal system. With thirty-six chapters on legal rights and procedures including the appellate process, federal habeas corpus relief, the Prison Litigation Reform Act, religious freedom in prison, the rights of prisoners with disabilities, and many more, the JLM is a major legal reference for prisoners and libraries across the country. The HRLR publishes this critical resource and delivers it to some of those individuals whose rights are most threatened in our judicial system yet who often have no access to legal assistance. Our students deliver over a thousand JLMs every year to prisoners, institutions, libraries, and organizations. We also publish a Spanish version of the JLM to serve as a resource to Spanish-language prisoners. Finally, the JLM offers an Immigration and Consular Access Supplement in both English and Spanish language versions.
HRLR Editors
Hanna St. Marie
Editor-in-Chief
Patricia Okonta
Executive Editor
Rebecca Nocharli
Executive Production Editor
Mohini Banerjee
Executive Submissions Editor
Alex Botoman
Executive Notes Editor