Trump Administration Decision to force Central American Asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for US Asylum is Illegal and Immoral

PRESS STATEMENT

For Immediate Release

Trump Administration Decision to force Central American Asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for US Asylum is Illegal and Immoral

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sara McElmurry: smcelmurry@alianzaamericas.org
Yancy Nuñez: ynunez@alianzaamericas.org

CHICAGO – December 21, 2018 Under a new policy, announced yesterday by the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, Central Americans seeking asylum would have to stay in Mexico for the duration of their U.S. immigration proceedings. This new policy is illegal, immoral, and yet another assault on the United States’ commitment to protecting human rights.

Oscar Chacón, Executive Director of Alianza Americas had the following statement:

With this policy change, the US government turns its back on the cornerstone of human rights protections for persons fleeing their countries of origin.  In doing so, it is also turning its back on thousands of young people, families, and children. Sending asylum seekers to Mexico to wait for a decision on their requests of protection is contrary to international obligations acquired by the US in treaties it has ratified and is contrary to US law.  The Mexican government replied to the policy by announcing that it will accept the refuge-seekers as a “temporary and humanitarian” measure.  This announcement cannot be used as an excuse to justify the new policy. It is unacceptable for the United States to violate international law even if its neighbor agrees to tolerate it.

The Trump Administration now has a shameful track record of announcing policies without considering the consequences. The debacle of the family separation policy has left a trail of wounded children and court rebukes. The policy of metering at ports of entry has already put people in extremely precarious conditions. In Tijuana, basic health, sanitation and safety issues are a constant concern. It will be virtually impossible to ensure these asylum seekers’ due process rights, particularly the right to a legal counsel and to prepare an asylum case adequately for a hearing.

Asylum seekers are not merchandise that can be held in a warehouse, pending a decision. These are human beings fleeing persecution, seeking protection, who have endured extraordinary circumstances and hardship. The United States should immediately reverse this decision before more harm is done.

Alianza Americas is a network of 50 immigrant-led organizations representing more than 100,000 families across the United States. It is the only US-based organization rooted in Latino and Caribbean immigrant communities that works transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable way of life. Learn more at alianzaamericas.org

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