In the eight months since the Trump administration began implementing its euphemistically named migrant protection protocols, the government has sent more than 35,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait out the slow pace of legal process that will determine whether they will be allowed to live in the United States or be returned to the countries they fled.
Another 18,000 are biding their time in similar conditions under a separate “counting” policy that limits the daily number of asylum claims the government will accept at ports of entry.
As Molly O’Toole, a DC-based immigration reporter for The Times, reported on Wednesday, these policies have forced thousands of asylum-seeking migrants to live in dangerous and squalid conditions in Mexican border towns, or be dispersed in places away from the border, adding to the obstacles they face in exercising their right to seek asylum under US law.
A U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel has so far allowed him to ‘stay in Mexico’ the policy remains in effect based on his reading of how the law defines and treats different categories of migrants (yes, immigration law is weed), although one of the judges expressed concern about the dangerousness of the conditions in Mexico, and another wrote that the Trump administration is “not just arguably wrong, but clearly and blatantly wrong” because the section of law on which he based the “stay in Mexico” policy “does not provide authority”.
But as O’Toole reported, the government plays fast and loose with how it implements policy. For example, the documents filled out by many border agents for migrants sent to wait in Mexico often list the address of asylum seekers as “general delivery” in the city where the government sends them, making it almost impossible for plaintiffs to receive notices of court appearance. It’s unclear if not including reliable delivery addresses is official government policy, but since there have been so many, it appears to at least be part of a concerted effort.
Why would government agents do this? Because Trump’s policy is to stop the flow of asylum seekers, and if an asylum seeker misses a court date, they run a serious risk of having their claim denied and permanently barred from applying. asylum in the United States.
The stakes are incredibly high. And so are the dangers to which the US government subjects asylum seekers – which should pique the interest of the 9th Circuit since it has ruled that the potential harm to migrants if the policy is maintained while the trial was progressing was less than the prejudice. to the government if arrested.
the Human rights first advocacy group monitoring at least 110 publicly reported assaults, rapes, kidnappings and other violent crimes against asylum seekers in Mexico, which he said was “probably just the tip of the iceberg”. This is clear evidence that the Trump administration is violating federal law and international agreements that prohibit sending migrants to unsafe places, a policy known as non-refoulement.
In fact, the human rights group reported that the administration had returned more than 10,000 asylum seekers to the state of Chihuahua, south of El Paso and its neighbor Ciudad Juarez, a notoriously murderous city with a homicide rate of over 100 per 100,000 (in Los Angeles, the rate last year was 6.4 per 100,000). The area is so dangerous that the State Department warn the Americans to avoid going there. The government knows it is sending endangered migrants in an inhumane violation of the law, but does it anyway.
Some argue that there is nothing inherently wrong with sending Central American migrants to wait in Mexico to find out if they are eligible for US government protection. But there is. These migrants don’t ask mexico for asylum, they seek asylum in the United States. Their cases are being tried in US immigration courts, and if they need to get legal help, it will be through US attorneys and US advocacy groups.
Forcing them to do all this across a border that the government will only let them cross to meet court dates (which it tries to avoid informing them of) is a grotesque violation of due process and put up an obstacle which has no basis in the right of asylum.
It has to end.