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New Report Shows “Return to Mexico” Policy is Dangerous for Migrants

On one-year anniversary, Quaker org urges termination of the program

Families affected by the "remain in Mexico" policy
Migrants affected by the Trump administration's inhumane "remain in Mexico" policy Photo: Karen Romero Siu / AFSC

SAN DIEGO, CA (January 29, 2020) On the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the “Return to Mexico” policy, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) released a report detailing its impacts. The report, called Dismantling Asylum: A year into the Migrant Protection Protocols, details the many barriers that this policy creates for migrants attempting to exercise their right to seek asylum in the U.S. 

Read the report here: https://www.afsc.org/document/dismantling-asylum-year-migrant-protection-protocols

Implemented on January 24, 2019, the Return to Mexico policy, officially called Migrant Protection Protocols, forces migrants to wait in Mexico pending their asylum court hearings.  As of November 2019, the United States government has returned at least 59,241 migrants to Mexico as they wait for their court proceedings. 25,700 of those have been returned to Baja California through Tijuana and Mexicali.

AFSC staff and volunteers have attended over 400 immigration court proceedings since June 2019, and the report documents their observations, as well as direct testimony from migrants. The report makes it clear that the Return to Mexico policy does not provide adequate due process protections and migrants lack legal representation and a familiarity with court proceedings. Many migrants have expressed a fear of returning to Mexico that are disregarded by the courts. 

“The Trump Administration is doing everything it can to deter protections to migrants seeking asylum, including violating principles it must adhere to under international agreements,” said Pedro Rios, director of AFSC’s U.S.-Mexico Border Program. “The Return to Mexico policy is part of the onslaught of irresponsible policies meant to eviscerate the asylum process in the United States.”

Actions across the country are taking place to mark the one-year anniversary of the policy and call for its end. For more information and event listings go to http://afsc.org/saveasylum

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.