Mexico Border Deal to Avoid Tariffs Would Endanger Lives

New York CityIn response to reports that the Mexican government is planning to make a deal with the United States to avoid tariffs threatened by President Trump, Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer issued the following statement:

President Trump is trying to bully another country into endangering the lives of vulnerable men, women, and children, who want nothing more than to live in freedom and safety. Mexico and Guatemala are not—in a legal or practical sense—safe countries for many refugees. In Mexico too many refugees face kidnapping, assault, and murder.

People seeking refuge are not required to seek asylum in the first country they set foot in. In fact, many face grave dangers in neighboring countries, as well as serious risks that they will be returned to their country of persecution.

Such a plan would not only makes a mockery of U.S. law and treaty commitments, but would also return refugees to places where their lives are in danger. It is yet another abdication of leadership, setting an abysmal example for other countries around the world.

Instead of more attempts to block and punish people seeking refuge, the United States needs real solutions that restore order and uphold America’s refugee laws and treaty commitments, including:

  1. Tackle the root causes pushing people to flee the Northern Triangle countries through a targeted strategy that leverages both diplomacy and aid, focusing on effective programs that reduce violence, combat corruption, strengthen rule of law, protect vulnerable populations and promote sustainable economic development.
  2. Launch a major initiative to enhance the capacity of Mexico and other countries—which are already hosting growing numbers of refugees—to provide asylum, host, protect, and integrate refugees, along with a robust regional resettlement initiative that provides orderly routes to the United States and other countries while safeguarding asylum.
  3. Immediately end the dysfunction at the border, and instead launch a public-private humanitarian initiative and a long overdue case management system to actually manage asylum cases.
  4. Fix the asylum and immigration court adjudication systems to provide fair, non-politicized and timely decisions.

For more information see Human Rights First’s blueprint: The Real Solution: Regional Response Rather than Border Closures, Mass Incarceration, and Refugee Returns.


Published on June 6, 2019


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