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“An Un-American Example to the World” – WaPo Editorial Blasts Outsourcing of Cruelty as “Remain in Mexico” Death Toll Mounts

 

As we have been highlighting throughout the week, there’s an incredible disconnect between the triumphalist spin and lies from the Trump administration about their border and asylum “successes” and the human suffering and loss of life due to the administration’s decisions and policies. 

They have deliberately set up a sham asylum process designed to deny access to a fair asylum hearing. Those seeking asylum are relegated to “kangaroo” tent courts that limit legal counsel, bar journalists and result in denials. The “Remain in Mexico” policy that has forced more than 42,000 people into dangerous conditions in Mexico, endangering lives and gutting asylum. 

An editorial in the Washington Post titled, “Trump’s outsourcing of the asylum process sets an un-American example to the world,” denounces these practices and rightly assert this administration is destroying America’s proud post-WWII tradition of world leadership in welcoming those fleeing persecution. The editorial notes:

In its multipronged efforts to deter migrants from seeking asylum in the United States, the Trump administration has devised policies designed to outsource the problem, mainly to Mexico. Judging strictly by the numbers, that strategy has been effective in staunching the flow of refugees attempting to cross the southern border in flight from violence, oppression and economic hardship in Central America and elsewhere. But that apparent gain has come at a cost — to the safety and welfare of the migrants, who are preyed on in lawless Mexican border towns, and to the United States’ moral standing.

Collateral damage from the administration’s determination to turn back the northward flow of desperate people has fallen heavily on migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador forced to remain in Mexico  … thousands of migrants, waylaid for months in Ciudad Juárez and other Mexican cities with high crime rates, are frequent targets of kidnapping gangs, which demand ransom from the victims’ relatives at home. In Mexico, shelter for the migrants is inadequate; living conditions are harsh; access to lawyers is scant.

…President Trump, who has proclaimed this country “full,” wants out of the United States’ traditional role as a haven for asylum seekers and refugees. In doing so, he might satisfy a political agenda, but he shifts a burden to neighbors far less capable of handling it; sets a dispiriting and — we would say — un-American example for other nations in the world; and, perhaps most harmfully, deprives the United States of the sort of people who have contributed enormously to the nation throughout its history.

And Adolfo Flores of BuzzFeed News writes, “More Immigrant Children Are Dying At The Border As The Trump Administration Sends People Back To Mexico.” It brings attention to the tragic drowning deaths of toddler Iker Gael Cordova Herrera and his mother, Idalia Yamileth Herrera Hernández. They “had asked US immigration authorities for asylum but were sent back across the border to Matamoros” under the Remain in Mexico policy. Flores quotes Stephanie Leutert, director of the Mexico Security Initiative at thesaid  Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin, who highlighted the “direct tie between people dying trying to cross the border and restrictive policies such as metering or MPP” (per Flores paraphrase) and stated, “US policy has been shaping the way people come into this country … When it’s more restrictive we know people try to cross the river and drown. It’s a continuation of what happens when we’re taking away legal pathways.” 

Meanwhile, more voices are continuing to spotlight the sham asylum process – see this tweet thread and video from AILA (the American Immigration Lawyers Association) for examples of how attorneys are being denied real access to represent clients and monitor proceedings. 

The Statue of Liberty weeps.