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May 10, 2019

Courts and Congress Misled About Trump Administration Policy Forcing Asylum Seekers to “Remain in Mexico”

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Since January 2019, the Trump Administration has forced more than four thousand Central Americans trying to request asylum at the southern border to return to Mexico. These men, women, and children are stranded in danger—with asylum seekers kidnapped, raped, and robbed—without a place to live, support, or legal representation as they wait for immigration court hearings in the United States that will decide their asylum claims.

On May 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowed this policy, disingenuously dubbed the “Migrant Protection Protocols” but better known as “Remain in Mexico,” to continue, pending resolution of a lawsuit brought by asylum seekers and legal service organizations. The court noted that asylum seekers “fear substantial injury upon return to Mexico,” but found the risk mitigated by a “commitment” the administration claims to have received from the Mexican government to give returned asylum seekers temporary humanitarian visas and work permits. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan also testified to Congress that returned asylum seekers have ready access to legal counsel in Mexico.

These assurances are false, but Trump Administration officials advance them anyway to defend “Remain in Mexico.”

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