The US Code includes laws related to asylum. This law might offer the most potent means of stopping and punishing violations of norms of treatment. Congress has attempted to codify all the U.S.’s obligations under international law into its statutes.
The Flores settlement, which "set limits on the length of time and conditions under which children can be incarcerated in immigration detention" has been frequently referred to in examining current policies and practices.
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International law is established by treaties and the bodies that enforce them. However, these remedies are subject to the sovereign rights of states and ultimately to the choice of powerful states like the US to accept jurisdiction.
Article 14(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted in 1948, guarantees the right to seek and enjoy asylum in other countries. It proscribes how host nations must treat those seeking political asylum. The US is a signatory.
Many European countries, including all European Union members such as Hungary and Italy, have agreed to asylum norms established in the European Convention on Human Rights. For more about this Convention, see the International Law: Human Rights Research Guide below.
Our research guide to human rights includes more information about many of the organizations that oversee international human rights agreements, including the UN, Council of Europe, and Organizations of American States.
The term “crimes against humanity” is occasionally raised in these debates. The Rome Statute lays out the elements of such crimes, which are adjudicated by the International Criminal Court.
The US is NOT a signatory to the Rome treaty, however, and the crimes the ICC tries involve horrific crimes of genocide.