Trump Admin Policy Requiring Asylum Seekers to Remain in Mexico is Illegal

New York City—In response to the Trump Administration’s announcement that refugees seeking asylum at the southern border will be required to wait in Mexico, Human Rights First’s Kennji Kizuka, who recently returned from a trip to the border, released the following statement:

Requiring asylum seekers to stay in Mexico is blatantly illegal. This is yet another instance of the president trying to unilaterally rewrite the laws put in place by Congress.

The president, frustrated at his own inability to secure funding for a border wall, is now desperately trying to score political points by endangering refugees’ lives and shredding our nation’s laws. The fact that this policy was cobbled together days before a holiday and with no regard to how it will practically function underscores how ill-conceived it is.

The administration seems to have no plan for implementation. Will lawyers be able to visit their clients before hearings? Where will those hearings take place? We know that access to counsel is one of the most important factors in whether or not an asylum seeker is able to live in safety in the United States.

As we’ve reported time and again, Mexico is not a safe country for many people seeking protection. Traffickers and kidnappers prey on the most vulnerable individuals, including LGBT asylum seekers. Today’s announcement comes just days after two children, who traveled to the border with a group of asylum seekers, were murdered in Tijuana.

We are a nation that for generations has prided itself on being a haven for the persecuted. We now have an administration that wantonly puts people’s lives at risk for political gain.

For more information on this policy, see Human Rights First’s fact sheet.


Published on December 20, 2018


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