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Home / Resource / Letter / Asylum Seekers in Remain in Mexico / “Migrant Protection Protocols” Policy
March 06, 2020

Asylum Seekers in Remain in Mexico / “Migrant Protection Protocols” Policy

March 6, 2020

Dear Acting Secretary Wolf:

Our 153 legal representation, refugee assistance, faith-based, human rights, and community groups write to urge your agency to end the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (“MPP”), to allow asylum seekers to pursue refugee protection—from safety in the United States as required by U.S. law and treaties—and to inform you that we stand ready to provide legal representation and humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers in the United States.  

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On Friday, February 28, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California’s April 2019 injunction blocking the MPP policy, a ruling which was subsequently stayed as the government pursues appeal.  We urge that your agency—and the Trump administration—immediately abandon efforts to prolong this legally flawed and dangerous policy.  As we know full well from our work with people seeking refuge at our southern border, asylum seekers in MPP have been subjected to kidnappings, torture, assaults, and other brutal violence while in Mexico waiting for their U.S. immigration court hearings.  In addition, MPP constitutes an insurmountable safety and logistical barrier to legal representation for many asylum seekers stranded in Mexico, as some of our groups detailed in a January 28 letter to you, which we again attach for your reference. About 95 percent of those in MPP are unable to secure legal representation.   

We urge the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to uphold U.S. asylum law and allow asylum seekers currently subject to MPP into the United States so they can seek asylum from safety in this country, as required under U.S. law and treaties.  The U.S. government is more than capable of managing refugee arrivals in humane ways without resorting to illegal border closures, threatening exercises of militarized force, and harsh, punitive policies. 

As you surely know, represented asylum seekers overwhelmingly appear for their hearings, as do those with community support.  Together, we will make every effort to ensure these asylum seekers can access pro bono legal representation and humanitarian assistance.  Many of our organizations have extensive expertise working with refugee populations around the world; others are deeply rooted in U.S. border communities and have long histories operating faith-based or community shelters.  Many of us will provide legal information about appearance obligations and referrals to legal representation, trauma counseling, medical care and other humanitarian necessities. Many of those in MPP have family in the United States—including in California, Florida, New York, and Texas—with whom they can stay.    

These men, women, and children—seeking asylum from Cuba, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela and elsewhere—have already suffered too much.  Many have been stranded in dangerous and difficult conditions under MPP for a year or more already.  They should not be subjected to additional harsh or punitive policies—including policies that block them from legal representation in their asylum proceedings—and should absolutely not be jailed in detention facilities and prisons.  

We are happy to meet with your agencies and others to plan for a prompt, humane, and orderly end to the MPP program.  

Sincerely, 

Abuelas RGV 

ACLU  

African American Ministers In Action  

Al Otro Lado   

Ameinu 

American Friends Service Committee  

American Immigration Council  

American Immigration Lawyers Association  

Angry Tias 

Anti-Defamation League 

Arizona Jews for Justice  

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC 

Asylum Seeker Assistance Project  

Augustinian 

Avodah 

Bay Area Health and Legal Partnerships for Immigrant Youth 

Benedictines for Peace 

CAIR Coalition  

Capuchin Franciscans, Prov. of St. Joseph  

Catholic Coalition for Migrants and Refugees  

Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona - Casa Alitas Program  

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.  

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies 

Center for Victims of Torture  

Center Global  

Centro Legal de la Raza  

Church Women United in New York State 

Church World Service  

Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice  

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)  

Colorado JCRC 

Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach  

Columbia Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic 

Community Change 

Conference of Major Superiors of Men  

Congregation Beth Israel  

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces  

Congregation of the Mission, Western Province USA 

Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc. 

Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries 

Dominican Sisters of Sparkill  

DWN 

Families Belong Together  

Flint Jewish Federation  

Franciscan Action Network  

Freedom for Immigrants  

Freedom Network USA  

Glenmary Home Missioners  

Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition  

Haitian Bridge Alliance 

Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program    

HIAS, Inc.   

Hispanic Federation 

Hope Border Institute  

Human Rights First  

Human Rights Initiative of North Texas  

Human Rights Watch  

Immigration Center for Women and Children  

Immigration Equality  

Immigration Hub  

Immigrant Defenders Law Center 

Immigrant Legal Defense  

Immigrants' Rights/International Human Rights Clinic, Center for Social Justice, Seton Hall Law  

Innovation Law Lab  

Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI) 

Interfaith Refugee & Immigration Service  

International Refugee Assistance Project  

International Rescue Committee  

Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix  

Jewish Community Relations Council of Portland 

Jewish Community Relations Council of Southern New Jersey  

Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis   

Jewish Council for Public Affairs 

Jewish Family & Children's Service  

Jewish Family and Community Services 

Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay 

Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis  

Jewish Family Services 

Jewish Family Service of Colorado   

Jewish Family Services of Columbus 

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans   

Jewish Family Service LA  

Jewish Family Service of San Diego  

Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley  

Jewish Justice Advocates of Temple Beth El of South Orange County California  

Jewish Social Services of Madison 

Jewish Vocational Service in Boston   

Justice in Motion  

Justice Revival 

Keshet  

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND, Inc.)  

Kino Border Initiative  

Latin America Working Group (LAWG)  

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area  

Leadership Conference of Women Religious  

Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice  

Loyola Law School Immigrant Justice Clinic  

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service  

Mishkan Chicago  

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd  

National Center for Transgender Equality 

National Council of Churches  

National Council of Jewish Women  

National Immigrant Justice Center  

National Immigration Law Center  

National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild 

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights  

Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies  

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice  

NM CAFé  

Orange County Jewish Coalition for Refugees 

Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church  

Passionist Solidarity Network  

Pax Christi USA  

Physicians for Human Rights  

Poder Latinx 

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)  

Priests of the Sacred Heart, US Province  

Program for Torture Victims  

Public Counsel  

Rabbinical Assembly  

Reconstructing Judaism  

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association  

Refugees International  

Rian Immigrant Center  

Safe Horizon  

Saint Francis Friary  

Sanctuary for Families  

San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium  

Save the Children   

Save the Children Action Network  

Sisters of Charity, BVM 

Sisters of Charity of New York   

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Justice Team  

Sojourners  

Southern Border Communities Coalition 

Southern Poverty Law Center  

Spiritans  

Tahirih Justice Center  

Taylor Levy Law  

The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project 

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta  

The Priests of the Sacred Heart, US Province  

T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights 

Uri L’Tzedek  

Union for Reform Judaism  

United We Dream 

University of Southern California Gould School of Law Immigration Clinic  

Washington Office on Latin America  

Witness at the Border  

Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)  

Women’s Refugee Commission 

Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights