The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project strongly rejects the Trump Administration’s “Remain in Mexico” plan, which will return migrants requesting asylum to Mexico while they wait for their hearings in immigration court. As we said last month when this plan was announced, the right to seek asylum in the United States is unambiguously protected by U.S. and international law, and asylum seekers have the right to wait safely in the United States while their claims are being processed.
Simply put, this plan is another attack on the rights of asylum seekers and an inhumane attempt to deny those who seek refuge in the United States that protection.
This policy also directly threatens the due process rights of asylum seekers in their immigration proceedings by effectively preventing them from accessing legal resources while they are required to wait in Mexico, including legal counsel and information about the U.S. asylum system. This will almost certainly result in asylum applicants with strong claims who have suffered immense trauma being deported due to their inability to assemble and present a thorough legal argument while forced to wait outside the U.S. Although the administration says that unaccompanied children will be allowed to enter the U.S., there have been multiple reports of Mexican authorities blocking children from presenting at the border. This policy means that the most vulnerable immigrants are again at risk. For some asylum seekers, deportation is a death sentence.
We urge Congress to take action to halt this illegal attack on U.S. and international asylum law and on the protections we have put in place for asylum seekers.