Trump Admin Renews “Safe Third Country” Talks with Mexico
New York City—In response to reports that the Trump Administration has renewed talks with the Mexican government that would require asylum seekers passing through Mexico to seek protection there instead of in the United States, Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer issued the following statement:
The simple fact is that Mexico is not a safe country for many people desperately seeking protection. This administration has engaged in a year-long, systemic attack on the asylum system; these reported negotiations are just the most recent tactic being used to deny vulnerable people’s right to seek protection in the United States. For many women, children, journalists, LGBT persons, and refugees, Mexico is an incredibly dangerous country; by denying these people protection in the United States, we may be condemning them to death.
Not only are refugees being targeted for kidnapping, trafficking, and murder in Mexico, but the Mexican asylum system is riddled with deficiencies that leave refugees at grave risk of return to persecution. The bottom line is that Mexico does not meet the legal standards for a safe third country under either U.S. or international law. This is about blocking refugees from the United States.
Last year Human Rights First found that Mexico was not a safe third country for refugees. The organization’s findings included that refugees and migrants face acute risks of kidnapping, disappearance, sexual assault, trafficking, and other grave harms in Mexico; that Mexican migration officers deport Central Americans who have expressed fear of return despite the country’s nonrefoulement and human rights obligations; and that deficiencies, barriers, and flaws in the Mexican asylum system leave many refugees unprotected.
Since then, the dangers facing refugees and migrants in Mexico have escalated. Recent reports confirm that Mexican authorities continue to improperly return asylum seekers to their countries of persecution and that the deficiencies in the Mexican asylum system have grown.