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Report Reveals Forcing Asylum Seekers to Wait in Mexico is a Humanitarian Catastrophe Created by the Trump Administration

 

A recording of the call is available here.

To read the report, click here

Earlier today, refugee protection experts from Human Rights First (HRF), joined a call moderated by Ur Jaddou, Director of America’s Voice’s DHS Watch project and former Chief Counsel of USCIS, to discuss Human Rights First’s new report entitled, “Human Rights Fiasco: The Trump Administration’s Dangerous Asylum Returns Continue,” specifically citing the escalating kidnapping, attacks and human rights violations that are occurring at the border due to the Trump administration’s direction. 

While mass human rights violations continue to ensue at the border, the Trump administration and Department of Homeland Security officials turn a blind eye and instead, further direct and expand forced returns to Mexico. Their illegal and immoral actions have targeted thousands of asylum-seekers from Central America, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and elsewhere, making them vulnerable to abusive human rights attacks.

Among Key Findings: 

  • Trump Administration and DHS officials continue to direct the forced return of men, women and children seeking refuge to some of the most dangerous areas of Mexico despite widespread reports that they are targeted for kidnapping, torture, rape, and other violent attacks.
  • There are now at least 636 public reports of rape, kidnapping, torture, and other violent attacks against asylum seekers and migrants returned to Mexico under the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico program.
  • Human Rights First’s tally of attacks includes at least 138 publicly reported cases of kidnapping or attempted kidnapping of children in the program. 
  • DHS is returning and attempting to return some of the very few refugees who manage to receive asylum or other protection back to danger in Mexico with fake hearing notices.  
  • In violation of its own policy, DHS returns vulnerable individuals, including those with serious medical issues, pregnant women including those with late-term pregnancies, LGBTQ persons, and Mexican nationals.
  • Asylum seekers who miss MPP court hearings because of kidnappings are being ordered deported.


Eleanor Acer, Senior Director of the Refugee Protection Human Rights First
, said:

“Trump administration officials continue to direct the return of men, women and children seeking refuge from Cuba, Central America, Venezuela, Nicaragua and other countries to notoriously dangerous parts of Mexico despite extensive reports of kidnappings, sexual assaults and attacks.   While DHS officials have touted this cruel and illegal policy as an alternative to family separation and a “success,” the reality is that this is a massive – and growing – human rights fiasco. The more we learn, the more horrified and alarmed we should all be about the human suffering caused by the refusal of U.S. officials to uphold U.S. refugee laws and treaty commitments.” 

Kennji Kizuka, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst for Refugee Protection Human Rights First, said:

“Through our research, Human Rights First has tracked at least 636 public reports of rape, kidnapping, torture, and other violent attacks against asylum seekers and migrants returned to Mexico under MPP, including at least 138 kidnapping or attempted kidnapping of children.  These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg as the vast majority of returnees have not been interviewed by journalists or human rights researchers. Asylum seekers returned to Mexico face peril wherever they turn. They have been beaten, kidnapped, and raped in shelters, on the way to and from U.S. immigration court hearings, and on the street while looking for work, housing, and food. Some of the very few refugees who manage to receive asylum or other protection have been sent back to danger in Mexico by DHS officials – yet another confirmation that the system is rigged, designed to block rather than protect refugees.”

Ur Jaddou, Director of DHS Watch and former Counsel for USCIS, said:

“The well-researched and documented Human Rights First report clearly shows that Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy is fundamentally flawed, not only because it was implemented for almost one year without even basic standards, but because even with the minimal standards recommended by a recently leaked internal DHS report, thousands of vulnerable people lawfully seeking asylum under U.S. law would still be forced to wait indefinitely in dangerous cities away from the protection they lawfully seek and need.”