CLINIC calls on DHS to end its latest attack on asylum seekers

SILVER SPRING, Maryland — CLINIC is calling on the administration to prioritize human lives above its baseless and immoral “Remain in Mexico Plan,” or the Migrant Protection Protocols.

The Department of Homeland Security’s “Remain in Mexico” plan, which went into effect on Jan. 24, forces people seeking safety in the United States at the southern border to return to Mexico for months or years while their cases are in progress, after they claim a fear in the United States. This policy will unnecessarily place vulnerable asylum seekers at risk, in violation of U.S. and international law.

“Returning migrants and asylum seekers to Mexico completely defeats the purpose of asylum,” said Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. Waiting in Mexico will expose vulnerable people seeking safety to unstable, unsafe conditions as well as risk of further trauma, especially as they wait there for unknown lengths of time. For asylum seekers in Mexico it will be an almost insurmountable hurdle to work with an immigration attorney who’s experienced in U.S. law.

“People who have legal representation when they apply for asylum appear for their court hearings 98.5 percent of the time,” Atkinson said. “This policy is unnecessary and will interfere with people’s access to counsel and the asylum system.”

“This policy raises serious due process concerns that directly impact those seeking asylum,” said Jill Marie Bussey, advocacy director of CLINIC. “The Remain in Mexico Plan fails to protect vulnerable immigrants who seek safety at our borders. Time and again, DHS has disregarded U.S. asylum law and the benefits of legal counsel. In addition to lacking legal authority, this policy does not have an appropriate framework for its implementation.”

This administration’s repeated actions strip human dignity from those in need. CLINIC will continue to support asylum-seekers in their search for peace and protection.