Today, immigrant rights and asylum advocates across the country are holding the #RestoreAsylumNow Day of Action to demand an end to ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy (also known as Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP).
January 28th is the one-year anniversary of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program being established by the Trump Administration, which effectively ended the U.S. asylum system. This policy is endangering lives, violating the due process of people seeking asylum, and creating chaos at the border.
The courts of San Diego and San Antonio, as well as the tent court in Brownsville, were packed with immigrant rights advocates, legal service providers, faith leaders, and asylum advocates. Vigils were held around the country to bring attention to this ongoing inhumane crisis at the border. It is time to #RestoreAsylumNow because what is happening at the border is a government-made crisis. MPP is a program that has returned tens of thousands to harm’s way and paved the way for massive violations of human rights.
In San Diego, hundreds of immigrant advocates filled the courtrooms and protested with signs to express their extreme concern for the fate of those seeking asylum at the border.
In San Antonio, protestors march outside of courts. They are horrified by the reports of kidnappings and sexual assault on women that are held at the border through the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy and denied access to safely continue with legal proceedings in the U.S.
From Brownsville, the Texas Civil Rights Project shares a new video story outlining first-person accounts from asylum seekers at the border about the challenges with MPP. Today, they tweeted: “It’s been ONE YEAR since the U.S. began its illegal and violent “Remain in Mexico” (MPP) policy. Here’s Mari, an asylum-seeker forced to wait in Matamoros for months, describing the makeshift tent “courts” that violate the due process of all asylum-seekers. #RestoreAsylumNOW.” Link to tweet with video story
In Washington D.C., the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship held a hearing titled “Courts in Crisis: The State of Judicial Independence and Due Process in U.S. Immigration Courts.” Rep. Veronica Escobar states that “Today marks one year since the implementation of @realDonaldTrump’s horrendous #RemainInMexico policy, which deprives asylum seekers of due process and endangers their safety and well-being. It’s time for Congress to #DefundMPP and put an end to this cruelty. #RestoreAsylumNow.” Link to tweet
More comments from members of Congress on the damage caused to immigrant communities through the disastrous ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy:
Rep. Castro (Thread): We need to end #MPP now. Vulnerable families shouldn’t be forced to live in tent camps at our border for months on end. This policy is inhumane and completely shameful–it is intentional cruelty and a systematic denial of human rights. #RestoreAsylumNow #DontLookAway (2/2) https://twitter.com/JoaquinCastrotx/status/1222605451688398849
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Having access to counsel can skyrocket your chances of making a successful asylum application. Yet DHS has used #RemainInMexico to erect overwhelming barriers between asylum seekers & counsel. Denying due process is un-American & unconstitutional. #EndMPP #DontLookAway https://twitter.com/DWStweets/status/1222596179910852609
Rep. Tony Cardenas: Before Trump’s heartless #RemainInMexico, 20% asylum seekers were granted asylum here in the US. Now, just .01% are reaching safety. The Trump Administration is putting thousands of families and children in danger by refusing them safety in the U.S. https://twitter.com/RepCardenas/status/1222600230111236097
Rep. Matsui: Because of Trump’s #RemainInMexico, just .01% of asylum seekers are reaching safety. Before this dehumanizing process, 20% were granted asylum here in the US.
This policy is not normal – it is intentional cruelty and a systematic denial of human rights. https://twitter.com/DorisMatsui/status/1222600132111134721
Further background on MPP can be found below:
‘Remain in Mexico’ is another tactic by the Trump Administration to effectively end the asylum system. It’s immoral and is sowing chaos at the border. MPP has affected over 60,000 men, women, and children by forcing those seeking asylum to remain in Mexico while they wait for hearings in the U.S. This includes more than 16,000 kids under 18, more than 4,000 toddlers (under 5), and 500 babies (under 12 months).
While these men, women, and children are left in Mexico to await their legal proceedings they face unimaginable conditions that are traumatizing or directly put their lives at risk. Babies are often left at the border, they become susceptible to cartel violence, immigrants are put on planes without any knowledge of their destination, or immigrants are handed legal resources in English when they only are able to understand Spanish or another language.
The policy, enacted one year ago, mandates that people seeking asylum who arrive at ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border be returned to Mexico for the duration of their U.S. immigration proceedings. The policy was a response to the Trump Administration’s inability to deport or detain the growing number of people arriving at the U.S. border without papers. Through returning those seeking asylum to wait in Mexico, the Administration is allowing migrants to pursue court cases in the U.S. without actually physically admitting them to the U.S. One of the ways the Administration executed this was through putting up tent courts along the length of the border. This policy is in direct violation of the fundamental policies of asylum, which is a legal protection to be claimed while on American soil. Instead, migrants are forced to wait in crowded, underfunded and unsafe shelters in Mexico.