FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2022
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‘Remain in Mexico’ Would Further Damage U.S. Credibility as a Beacon of Hope for Those Fleeing Violence
WASHINGTON – As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on the Biden v. Texas on April 26, a case that will determine whether the Biden administration has the authority to end the Trump administration’s cruel “Remain in Mexico” program, Alianza Americas calls on Biden administration to stop the expansion of this inhumane program.
Alianza Americas, a coalition of 55 migrant-led groups in some 14 states, and its digital organizing powerhouse Presente.org, express concern that, even as the Biden administration is fighting this legal battle, it is also steadily increasing the number of people enrolled in the program. From February to March, the number of people sent back to wait for their asylum court dates in Mexico increased by 84 percent.
This follows moves by the Biden administration to expand who is eligible for “Remain in Mexico.” Previously, the program only applied to asylum seekers from several Spanish-speaking countries and Brazil. After the program restarted under court order on December 6, it now applies to anyone from the Western Hemisphere. For example, Haitians, who do not speak Spanish, could end up waiting for asylum in Mexico border towns known to be among the world’s most violent.
“The Biden administration is using one hand to contest ‘Remain in Mexico’ in court, and another hand to expand this policy that’s caused an unprecedented humanitarian disaster at the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Oscar Chacón, executive director for Alianza Americas. “Every day that ‘Remain in Mexico’ continues means more vulnerable asylum seekers will face murder, rape, torture, kidnapping, and other violence. It is a national shame, and history will not look kindly on those who perpetuate the tragic toll of ‘Remain in Mexico.’”
The Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision on Biden v. Texas in June. Should the court force the continuation of “Remain in Mexico,” this would mean thousands of asylum seekers stuck in Mexican shelters along the border, where they face the risk of assault and violence. Currently, the majority of new enrollees in “Remain in Mexico” are from Nicaragua, where the brutal repression by the Ortega regime is spurring tens of thousands to flee persecution.
“It’s revealing that the U.S. government can pull together the capacity and political will to process Ukrainian asylum seekers along the border, yet those fleeing violence from other countries receive a very different treatment,” said Hazel Contreras, coordinator for Central America at Alianza Americas.
Should the Supreme Court uphold “Remain in Mexico,” this could also set a legal precedent that would make it extremely difficult for presidents to undo the policies of previous administrations. The dangerous consequences of a ruling that upholds “Remain in Mexico” are explored in detail in a new policy brief by Presente, Alianza Americas’ digital organizing powerhouse, and advocacy group Take Back the Court.
“The Supreme Court is poised to entrench protocols that expose thousands of asylum-seekers to inhumane conditions, usurping the Biden administration’s ability to conduct foreign policy and striking yet another blow to American democracy,” the brief states. “By forcing the continuation of [Remain in Mexico], the Supreme Court would be imposing a second Trump presidency from the bench despite his decisive loss in the 2020 election.”
Alianza Americas is the only transnational organization rooted in Latino immigrant communities in the United States focused on improving the quality of life of all people in the U.S.-Mexico-Central America migration corridor. As a network of Latino and Caribbean immigrants, Alianza Americas is working for change in the U.S. while also promoting a more stable, healthy, democratic and safer conditions in the countries of origin of their members.
Presente.org is Alianza Americas’ digital organizing powerhouse. As the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group — and the nation’s premier Latinx digital organizing hub — Presente.org advances social justice with technology, media, and culture.