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February 14, 2018
Press Release: Ahead of Planned Expansion: 60 Organizations Urge Secretary Nielsen to Terminate the “Remain in Mexico” Policy
Washington, D.C. –Ahead of the planned expansion of the administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) joins 60 organizations from the United States, Mexico, and Central America in urging Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Nielsen to immediately halt this policy and to refrain from expanding it to additional locations and to asylum-seeking families. Implemented in its first phase at the San Ysidro/Tijuana port of entry and set to expand to other ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, the policy keeps non-Mexican asylum seekers that arrive by land at the U.S. southern border in Mexico throughout the duration of their U.S. immigration proceedings.
In the letter, the 60 civil society organizations present a series of risks asylum seekers face under the program, including a situation of violence, corruption, and impunity along some of Mexico’s northern border states and cities. It also discusses the human rights violations and crimes that migrants and asylum seekers have long faced in their transit through Mexico. “There is substantial evidence documented by our organizations, the U.S. State Department, and the Mexican government that there is a situation of extreme violence and insecurity along Mexico’s northern border,” the letter reads. Civil society organizations also point to a myriad of challenges that asylum seekers would face in accessing broader services while waiting in Mexico.
“It is a mockery for DHS to call this policy Migrant Protection Protocols. This is another one of the administration’s illegal measures that violates U.S. and international law. All it does is place asylum seekers directly in danger while they wait for a prolonged period of time in Mexico without access to legal counsel or support. Expanding this policy will resolve nothing and just be another complete waste of resources, causing unnecessary harm to those who have come to our border fleeing persecution and violence,” states Daniella Burgi-Palomino, Senior Associate for Mexico, Migrant Rights, and Border Issues.