As the Trump Administration’s MPP program reaches its one-year anniversary, the administration is readying a self-congratulatory effort to declare their supposed “success” at the border. But as an updated report from Human Rights First reminds us, the Trump administration has a very different notion of “success” from ours.
Here’s the key tally of MPP’s impact:
- At least 816 cases of murder, torture, rape, kidnapping, and other violent assaults have been reported against MPP individuals – including 201 documented kidnappings or attempted kidnappings of children;
- 57,000 individuals, including 16,500 children and infants, have been forced to wait in dangerous and overcrowded conditions in Mexico;
- Only 117 people have been granted asylum, in part because 96% of individuals in MPP have lacked an attorney and in part because adjudicators are under enormous pressure to deny asylum or temporary admission into America.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
None of this is by accident. In our name and with our tax dollars, the Trump administration has created and supported a human rights catastrophe called MPP.
It’s only a “success” from the lens of its true and cruel objectives: to restrict access to a fair hearing and due process, to keep vulnerable people in danger, prevent valid asylum claims from reaching a court and to trample on America’s post-WWII leadership as a leader and beacon of hope for vulnerable people around the world.
There is a better way to reflect American values and advance American interests. We don’t need to gut asylum, keep vulnerable people in detention, and subvert due process. We don’t need to keep people in life-threatening conditions. Instead, we need to respect our law that has been in place for decades. We need to ensure a fair and efficient process, complete with family support, legal assistance and case management systems. We need to work with, rather than bully, our neighbors to devise a regional strategy for safe haven and resettlement opportunities. And we need to invest in the source countries in order to mitigate, over time, the violence and societal breakdown that spurs out-migration.
Let us work for a future where refugees are rescued, asylum decisions are fair to all, people in need of safe haven are protected, and American agents reflect American values or are held accountable if and when they do not. We will get there, but not with MPP in operation or the Trump team in charge.