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Why Denying Due Process and Endangering Asylum Seekers’ Lives Threatens to Destabilize Central America Even Further

 

Reminders of the many ways the Trump administration is making a mockery of due process 

The Trump administration’s multi-pronged effort to deny asylum seekers access to a fair hearing and meaningful due process is endangering lives. Sending asylum seekers back to dangerous conditions – whether to dangerous cities in northern Mexico or to  Northern Triangle countries that are too dangerous for many of their own citizens – makes a mockery of what a functioning and fair asylum process should look like, and threatens to destabilize the Central American region even further.

Below are reminders from just the past few days which, taken together, underscore that the Trump strategy is not only cruel, but chaotic and irresponsible as well. 

  • Due to MPP (Remain in Mexico), 60,000 asylum seekers are stuck in Mexico in dangerous and worsening conditions. Because of the MPP program, 60,000 asylum seekers are living in dangerous and squalid conditions in northern Mexico and facing escalating kidnapping, violence, and human rights violations (see the recent Human Rights First’s report, “Human Rights Fiasco: The Trump Administration’s Dangerous Asylum Returns Continue). Now, winter weather threatens to make the situation even worse in coming months.  
  • Guatemalan president’s visit to White House underscores corrupt bargain struck to fast-track asylum seekers back to dangerous conditions in that country. Today’s White House visit by outgoing Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales offers a reminder of the corrupt bargain struck between the countries to fast-track asylum-seekers’ removal back to dangerous conditions in Central America, despite next to zero planning or preparations to safely house or offer a fair hearing to asylum seekers (see here for more). 
  • New U.S./Honduras asylum agreement makes a mockery of fair process and is designed to thwart asylum seekers. In the Los Angeles Times, Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Molly O’Toole write on the details and implications of the new asylum agreement between the U.S. and Honduras – “the first to explicitly state that if Honduras or another country rejects the individuals’ asylum claims, they won’t get another chance to apply in the United States, according to the text.” 
  • El Salvador President on “60 Minutes” highlights problems facing El Salvador. Last Sunday’s “60 Minutes” show on CBS featured an interview with El Salvador President Nayib Bukele that offered a blunt overview of the violence and economic challenges that drive migratory pressures, including the gang violence and threats that drive many asylum-seekers’ fears. 
  • Reminders that tent courts along border make mockery of real due process. Meanwhile, on the U.S. side of the border, the Wall Street Journal recently highlighted why the tent courts along the border are being condemned by observers. The WSJ piece quotes Laura Lynch, senior policy counsel with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, asserting, “It’s a system that’s designed in its entire structure to turn people away.”