Press Release: LAWG Response to Asylum Ban

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Date: July 16, 2019

Lauri Alvarez, Program Assistant  | (202) 546-7010   

LAWG Strongly Condemns Administration’s Latest Asylum Ban, Another Abdication of U.S. Responsibility to Families & Children Fleeing Violence 

Washington D.C. – The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) strongly condemns the Administration’s latest asylum ban which would deny asylum to individuals, including families and unaccompanied children, at the U.S.-Mexico border on the basis that they should have claimed asylum in the first country through which they passed. The administration’s asylum ban would go into effect immediately upon its publication as an interim final rule on July 16, 2019 and would deny protection not only to individuals from the Northern Triangle countries of Central America (NTCA) but also to migrants from other countries seeking safety at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“This new asylum ban is yet another attack by the Trump Administration against the right of families and children to seek international protection at our borders.The United States is once again abdicating its responsibility to asylum seekers. We have already seen the result of previous efforts to shut out asylum seekers at our border–utter chaos that leaves people in danger. The courts must act swiftly to make sure this illegal ban is struck down immediately and ensure asylum seekers receive due process,” states Daniella Burgi-Palomino, LAWG senior associate for Mexico, Migrant Rights and Border Issues.

There are already close to 20,000 asylum-seekers stranded on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border as a result of the Trump Administration’s Remain in Mexico policy.  Some have already faced kidnapping, extortion, and rape. Last week, the administration expanded the policy to Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, a Mexican state which has a “Level 4 State Department Do Not Travel” travel advisory for U.S. citizens and where there have been documented cases of migrant disappearances and executions in the past. This new asylum ban would only make the situation worse. Under international law, individuals have the right to seek protection where they feel safe. The U.S. Congress has outlined the process under which asylum seekers should be processed at the border. This new asylum ban would only place asylum seekers in grave danger, compounding the violence and human rights violations they are already fleeing in their home countries. Until the root causes of the forced migration from Central America are addressed, migrants will continue seeking protection where they can.

We will continue calling for a humane response to the humanitarian crisis at the border that upholds international law, and that ensures due process and family unity as well as community-based alternatives to detention.