Facing violence, gangs and entrenched poverty, children and families are seeking safety in the United States, undertaking a dangerous journey from their homes in Central America and other countries.
In response, the Trump administration enacted the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly called “Remain in Mexico.” This policy forces migrants and asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border to wait in Mexico for their hearing with a U.S. immigration judge. This process can take months. During that time, many families are living on the streets where they have been targets of assault, rape and kidnapping.
We must speak out against this policy! Legislation called the Strategic and Humane Southern Border Migrant Response Act (H.R. 3731) would end this harmful practice.
The U.S. government has returned close to 70,000 asylum seekers and migrants to Mexico since January 2019. More than 13,000 of these are children and nearly 400 of them are infants.
Forcing children and families to remain in Mexico puts them in grave danger and limits their due process protections in U.S. immigration courts. In an especially disgraceful move, reports indicate that on multiple occasions CBP agents have written false court dates on paperwork for migrants who have already concluded their immigration hearings, forcing them to remain in Mexico indefinitely.
Access to asylum is a basic human right and policies that infringe upon this right must be repealed. Children and families must be allowed to make asylum claims regardless of where they seek asylum – whether at an official point of entry, their country of origin or in the United States. In accordance with U.S. and international law, children and families should not be returned to countries where they may face violence or persecution.
Congress has the power to stop this by passing the Strategic and Humane Southern Border Migrant Response Act. In addition to ending the Remain in Mexico policy, it would also provide comprehensive solutions for the migrant crisis by providing alternatives to detention for children, allowing for surge funding and personnel for the Department of Homeland Security and CBP and ending family separation.
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