Asylum Ban Strands Asylum Seekers and Migrants in Mexico and Returns Them to Danger

Over 1300 people have faced kidnapping, torture, rape, extortion, and other violence while waiting to seek protection in the U.S. since the asylum ban took effect in mid-May 2023

Six months after the Biden administration initiated its new bar on asylum (the “asylum ban”), the policy and its accompanying practices continue to strand vulnerable people in Mexico where they are targets of widespread kidnapping, torture, and violent assaults. People seeking asylum are forced to risk their lives waiting in danger for limited CBP One appointments. If they attempt to seek protection at a port of entry or cross outside ports of entry without a CBP One appointment, they risk suffering the ban’s punitive asylum denials or wrongful returns to harm and persecution.

The Biden administration should commit to the effective, humane, and legal policies that it has already initiated or announced and reject those that punish and block people seeking asylum, contrary to core tenets of international refugee protection. Congress must reject any attempts to enact the asylum ban policy into law. Key steps include: uphold refugee law and maximize asylum processing at ports of entry, expand regional refugee resettlement, strengthen pivotal parole initiatives, and increase critical aid to address regional protection gaps.

Human Rights First has tracked over 1,300 reports of torture, kidnapping, rape, extortion, and other violent attacks on asylum seekers and migrants stranded in Mexico, including those struggling to secure CBP One appointments, since the asylum ban policy took effect six months ago. Given the under-reporting of kidnappings and other crimes in Mexico and substantial increase in kidnappings in parts of the northern Mexico border reported by aid workers and Mexican authorities, this figure represents the tip of the iceberg.


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  • Christina Asencio

Published on November 28, 2023


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