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U.S. Shuts Off Asylum Protections, Resulting in Kidnappings, Chaos, Danger and Cruelty

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Growing Pushback Against Trump’s Policies to Block Asylum

The Trump administration’s asylum and border policies, including Remain in Mexico or MPP and the so-called “safe third country” agreements with El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, are cruel and chaotic. 

The growing consequences of the human rights crisis Trump and Stephen Miller’s policies have sparked are on continued display. This administration is fast-tracking asylum-seekers’ removal back to dangerous conditions in Central America despite next to zero planning. According to a new study from the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI), more than 400 migrants seeking asylum have been kidnapped in Mexican territory this year, including 50 migrant minors according to a report by Telemundo.

In the face of this cruelty and chaos, there are important and growing sources of pushback from asylum officers, policymakers, advocates and the courts — a reminder that millions of Americans continue to believe in our nation’s proud tradition of protecting and resettling the vulnerable. Among the pushbacks on display:

  • House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Remain in Mexico includes asylum officers’ condemnation of program. Yesterday’s House Homeland Security Committee hearing on the Remain in Mexico (MPP) program featured a host of voices, including AFGE’s Michael Knowles, a union representative for more than 600 asylum officers, who characterized asylum officers’ objections to Remain in Mexico as “based in our oath to uphold the law. MPP policies are immoral and illegal” and noted, “I don’t know of a single asylum office … who believes MPP is a good policy. Most have been very vocal and talking to me about how it’s illegal and it places them feeling that they are complicit in a human rights abuse.”
  • New York Times op-ed from former asylum officer on how Trump asylum policies and Remain in Mexico are racist and illegal. A new video op-ed from Doug Stephens, a former asylum officer who quit his job in protest of MPP, includes a powerful recap of how the Trump policies are against our moral traditions and international law. It is a must-watch.
  • Federal judge rules that thousands of asylum-seekers waiting before mid-July should not be blocked by Trump’s “metering” policies. The courts continue to serve a vital role in pushing back as well. Yesterday, Judge Cynthia Bashant of the Southern District of California ruled that asylum-seekers waiting at the U.S./Mexico border before mid-July should not be subject to new Trump administration “metering” asylum limits.