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Home / Press Release / Supreme Court Issues Order in Favor of Administration, Consigning Asylum-Seekers to Violence and Suffering in Mexico
March 11, 2020

Supreme Court Issues Order in Favor of Administration, Consigning Asylum-Seekers to Violence and Suffering in Mexico

The order today stays a prior appellate court ruling that would have prevented the administration from continuing to return asylum-seekers to Mexico while they await their asylum hearings

WASHINGTON – Today, the Supreme Court stayed an injunction from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit against returning asylum-seekers to Mexico to wait for their asylum hearings. The order will allow the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program to remain in effect.

“The dangerous and illegal ‘Remain in Mexico’ program puts the lives and safety of refugees seeking asylum in this country at risk every day,” said Eleanor Acer, director for refugee protection at Human Rights First. “As representatives of asylum-seekers who have suffered incredible harm in Mexico, we are disappointed that this policy will continue to condemn them to violence and persecution in Mexican border towns. We are also deeply troubled by the government’s inaccurate descriptions of the asylum-seekers and attorneys who came to border posts after the Ninth Circuit ruling, and the failure of DHS and CBP to communicate and plan with legal and humanitarian organizations for the potential end to MPP.”

On February 28, the Ninth Circuit issued an injunction that prevented the United States government from returning asylum-seekers to Mexico. On March 6, the Trump Administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to freeze that ruling halting its forced return of asylum-seekers to Mexico and U.S. government officials announced the deployment of 160 troops to two U.S. border posts. Trump Administration lawyers told the Supreme Court that halting returns to Mexico was “virtually assured to cause chaos at the border,” claiming “large groups of migrants” had “attempt[ed] to cross the border” in the aftermath of the February 28 ruling. Human Right First attorneys were on the border that night and know that this claim is patently false.

Human Rights First has documented more than 1,000 public reports of kidnappings, torture, rape and assaults against asylum-seekers sent to wait in Mexico since the policy first began. This tally of attacks on returnees includes at least 228 publicly reported cases of kidnapping or attempted kidnapping of children returned to Mexico. The number of attacks on asylum-seekers and migrants returned to Mexico is certainly far above 1,000, as the vast majority of those returned have not been interviewed by researchers or journalists.