Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Democratic presidential candidate, hit out at Trump administration controversyfor asylum seekers, accusing the US government of forcing desperate migrants into precarious situations in Mexico.
“This inhumane policy is causing suffering and death,” O’Rourke said in “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
Under the policy, officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) by the administration, migrants seeking asylum at certain entry points along the southwestern border are required to wait in Mexico while their cases are being tried in the United States, although it is currently in place in San Diego, Calexico and El Paso, the administration has pledged to expand the program, which is being challenged in court, to the entire southern border.
The White House is betting on the policy, which has now returned more thanto Mexico, to curb large-scale migration from Central America. But immigrant advocates, lawyers and even some current asylum officers who oversee the program have said the practice because it sends asylum seekers back to places where they risk being persecuted.
These places include the Mexican border towns of Tijuana, Mexicali and Ciudad Juárez, which borders El Paso, the city O’Rourke represents in Congress.
“Thanks to an agenda that shuts them out of this country and our laws, [migrants] are forced to stay in Ciudad Juárez, where they fall prey to criminal organizations, where they are penniless and suffering, and where too many people feel compelled to try to pass between our entry points,” O’Rourke said.
The former Texas congressman is due to travel to Ciudad Juárez later Sunday to meet with migrants returned under the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Since the Trump administration began turning away asylum seekers at the El Paso port of entry, thousands of migrants have been stranded in Ciudad Juárez, one of the most violent cities in the Western Hemisphere, in seeking shelter, employment, and legal representation while awaiting their day in court in the United States
O’Rourke said he hopes his visit to the Mexican border town will shed light on one of the Trump administration’s lesser-known immigration policies and its impact on thousands of migrants.
“Going to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and meeting these asylum seekers is a great way for the American public to find out what is being done on our behalf right now,” he said.