DearColleague.us

Letter

Joaquin Castro

From the office of:

Joaquin Castro

Sending Office: Honorable Joaquin Castro
Sent By:
Estefania.Rodriguez@mail.house.gov

Letter to DHS Calling for the End of ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy on the One-Year Anniversary of 

Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)

DEADLINE: Wednesday, February 5th at COB 

Current co-signers (37): Schakowsky, DeLauro, Napolitano, Ocasio-Cortez, Watson Coleman, Haaland, Bonamici, Blumenauer, DeFazio, McGovern, Vargas, Espaillat, Gallego, Vela, Watson Coleman, Grijalva. S. Garcia, Raskin, Panetta, C. Garcia, Chu, Soto,
Sanchez, Escobar, Lowenthal, Cardenas, Sires, Mucarsel-Powell, Jayapal, Gonzalez, Barragan, B. Lee, Lujan, Cisneros, Serrano, Gomez, Pressley 

(22) Supporting Orgs: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, The Immigration Hub, Lawyers for Good Govt Project Corazon, The Center for Victims of Torture Matamoros, Coalition on Human Needs, Women’s Refugee Commission, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Asian
Americans, Advancing Justice, The Immigration Hub, National Immigrant Justice Center, The Latin America Working Group, Doctors for Camp Closure, Lawyers for Good Govt Project Corazon Matamoros, Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, United We Dream,
ACLU, Immigration Defenders, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) 

Dear Colleague,

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, otherwise known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). I invite you to co-sign a letter addressed to the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, firmly calling on the
Trump Administration to immediately terminate this harmful policy.

‘Remain in Mexico’ is another tool used by this administration to dismantle the U.S. asylum system. Since it was introduced, approximately 60,000 vulnerable children, families, and other asylum seekers have been forced to wait in unsafe conditions in Mexico
while their asylum requests are heard at tent courts in the United States along the border.  Asylum seekers subject to ‘Remain in Mexico’ have become targets of cartels and victims of violent crimes, including kidnapping, extortion, and rape. 

Various Members of Congress have traveled to Mexico to witness these conditions first-hand and have personally witnessed the human rights violations occurring at the border as a result of ‘Remain in Mexico’.

Please join me in calling on the Trump Administration to immediately terminate this cruel and illegal policy, provide all asylum seekers with meaningful access to a fair asylum process, and restore our status as the global leader on refugee protection.

If would like to sign on to the letter, please fill out this
Google
Form
with your office contact information. If you have any questions, please email Isamar Garcia with the office of Chairman Joaquin Castro at
Isamar.Garcia@mail.house.gov;
The deadline for co-signers is
Wednesday, February 5th at COB

 


February XX, 2020

Dear acting Secretary Chad Wolf,

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the Trump Administration’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, also known as the Migrant Protection Protocols.  Under this dangerous and illegal policy, the administration has forced tens of thousands of vulnerable children,
families, and other asylum seekers to unsafe conditions before their asylum requests can even be heard. In the span of just one year, ‘Remain in Mexico’ has inflicted irreparable harm to nearly 60,000 asylum seekers.[1] The
Trump administration has forced the United States to turn its back on our international legal obligations damaging our status as the global leader on refugee protection. We call on the Trump administration to immediately terminate this harmful policy. 

‘Remain in Mexico’ is just another tool used by this administration to circumvent and dismantle the U.S. asylum system. ‘Remain in Mexico’ obstructs access to legal counsel, making it nearly impossible for asylum seekers to actually obtain asylum.  In fact,
members of the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that represent USCIS asylum officers, asserts that the policy fails to provide even basic procedural protections to asylum applicants.[2] 
Only 4 percent of those subject to ‘Remain in Mexico’ have been able to find legal counsel.[3] In contrast, nearly a third of those allowed to remain in the U.S while pursuing
their asylum claim have obtained legal counsel over the same time period.[4] Legal representation is critical to securing asylum as those with lawyers are four times more
likely to be granted asylum than those without counsel.[5]  This obstruction of due process not only violates U.S. asylum and immigration law but harms vulnerable children
and families who desperately need protection.

Moreover, this policy closes the doors to vulnerable populations, including children and families, forcing them to wait in dangerous conditions in locations even our own government considers very dangerous.[6]
In the last year, there have been more than 800 documented attacks on those subject to ‘Remain in Mexico’, including cases of kidnapping, extortion, torture, rape, and murder.[7] A
recent study by the U.S. Immigration Policy Center at San Diego, found that one in four people subject to ‘Remain in Mexico’ in Tijuana and Mexicali have been threatened with physical violence.[8]
Families, children, and others are living in makeshift encampments, often without adequate access to water, food, medical care, and proper sanitation. Furthermore, in alleged violation of CBP’s own policy,[9]
we understand that other vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals, and those with severe illnesses, have also been forced to wait in these conditions.[10]
For LGBTQ asylum seekers, this policy forces them to remain exposed to the very abuse and persecution they are seeking protection from in the U.S.  

In response to the alarming reports about conditions at the border caused by ‘Remain in Mexico’, Members of Congress have traveled to Texas and Mexico to investigate these allegations first-hand. Members have spoken with hundreds of vulnerable families forced
to live in makeshift refugee camps.  Unfortunately, these visits have confirmed many human rights violations are occurring at the border as a result of ‘Remain in Mexico’.

‘Remain in Mexico’ repeatedly jeopardizes the physical safety and emotional well-being vulnerable populations sought to escape from in the first place. This program undoubtedly causes further harm and inflicts unnecessary trauma on these populations. The
Trump administration must immediately terminate this cruel and illegal policy, provide all asylum seekers with meaningful access to a fair asylum process in the U.S., and restore the U.S. commitment to be a safe haven for refugees.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. 

Sincerely,

Joaquin Castro

Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

 


[1] Daniella Silva, “One year into ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, migrants confront danger and instability”
NBC News January 29, 2019
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/one-year-remain-mexico-policy-migrants-confront-danger-instability-n1124786
(last accessed January 29, 2020).

[2] Human Rights First, “Delivered to Danger: Illegal Remain in Mexico Policy Imperils Asylum Seekers’ Lives and Denies Due Process” August 2019

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/sites/default/files/Delivered-to-Danger-August-2019%20.pdf
(last accessed January 29, 2020).

[3] TRAC Immigration, “Contrasting Experiences: MPP vs. Non-MPP Immigration Court Cases” December 19, 2019

https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/587/
(last accessed January 29, 2020).

[4] Id.

[5]

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/sites/default/files/Asylum_Grant_Rates.pdf

[6] U.S. State Department, “Mexico Travel Advisory”

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/mexico-travel-advisory.html
(last accessed January 29, 2020).

[7] Human Rights First, “A Year of Horrors: The Trump Administration’s Illegal Returns of Asylum Seekers to Danger in Mexico” January 22, 2020

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/sites/default/files/MPP-aYearofHorrors-UPDATED.pdf
(last accessed January 29, 2020)

[8] U.S. Immigration Policy Center, “Seeking Asylum: Part 2”
UC San Diego October 29, 2019
https://usipc.ucsd.edu/publications/usipc-seeking-asylum-part-2-final.pdf
(last accessed January 29, 2020)

[9] Customs Border Patrol, “MPP Guiding Principles” January 28, 2019

https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2019-Jan/MPP%20Guiding%20Principles%201-28-19.pdf
(last accessed January 29, 2020).

[10] Hamed Aleaziz, “US Border Officials Pressured Asylum Officers to Deny Entry to Immigrants Seeking Protection, A Report Finds”
BuzzFeed News November 15, 2019
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/hamedaleaziz/dhs-asylum-report-mpp-immigration-remain-mexico
(last accessed January 29, 2020).

Sincerely,

Joaquin Castro

Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus 

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