Human Rights First Welcomes Supreme Court Ruling Permitting the End of Remain in Mexico, Calls for Immediate Suspension of Policy

WASHINGTON – In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Biden v. Texas, Human Rights First expresses its joy that the court rightfully found the Biden administration was able to terminate the Remain in Mexico (RMX) policy. Human Rights First calls on the Biden administration to take steps to immediately bring the victims of this terrible policy to safety in the United States and to suspend its use once and for all.

“The Trump administration’s notorious Remain in Mexico policy inflicted massive human suffering and subjected people seeking refuge to kidnappings and brutal attacks,” said Senior Director of Refugee Protection Eleanor Acer. “Since the policy’s inception, we have witnessed and recorded the horrific toll on its victims. The Department of Homeland Security must now take swift action to finally end this humanitarian fiasco and bring its victims to safety.  People seeking refuge in this country should not be subjected to policies that violate their human rights and endanger their lives. We urge the Biden administration, the courts and Congress to ensure a swift end to the similarly dangerous Title 42 asylum ban as well.”

Remain in Mexico was initially created and implemented by the Trump administration. In June 2021, the Biden administration officially ended RMX and the Secretary of Homeland Security subsequently issued a 39-page memorandum to re-terminate RMX, explaining its endemic flaws and disastrous consequences. Human Rights First welcomed those decisions.

“Today, the Supreme Court rightfully found the Biden administration had the authority to terminate the Remain in Mexico policy that has caused vast human rights abuses as well as damage to the U.S. immigration system,” said Director of Legal Strategy, Refugee Programs, Anwen Hughes. “We have seen firsthand the dangers of the policy for asylum seekers and the chaos it caused in U.S. immigration courts and welcome its end.”

While RMX – also known as the Migrant Protection Protocols – was initially in effect, Human Rights First tracked over 1,500 reported kidnappings and attacks against migrants subjected to the policy. Human Rights First joined a series of amicus briefs to the Supreme Court and Circuit Court, citing multiple Human Rights First reports, research, and client stories to show the human costs of continuing the policy.

In monitoring the re-implementation of RMX, including our January 2022 report, Human Rights First confirms that the policy overwhelmingly cuts off asylum seekers from attorneys who could assist them in applying for asylum.

Equally concerning, asylum seekers continue to be returned to danger under RMX. Despite attempts by the U.S. government to improve safety, asylum seekers who returned to Mexico under the policy have been abducted while being transported by Mexican officials to shelters, and members of their families have been extorted for ransom payments by the kidnappers.

As of mid-June 2022, according to government data, more than 76 percent of individuals enrolled in the reimplemented RMX policy and forced to wait in danger in Mexico are from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Countries with well-documented histories of human rights abuses under authoritarian rule, as recognized by the U.S. government.

Press

Published on September 19, 2022

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