On August 28th, 2019, the Los Angeles Times reported that several U.S. officials believe that the Trump Administration is violating American law in its implementation of the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
Since the Migrant Protection Protocol (the Remain in Mexico Policy) was unveiled earlier this year, at least 37,578 asylum applicants have been sent back to Mexico in order to wait for their claim to be processed. The Los Angeles Times story notes that the vast majority of these affected asylum seekers have been returned in the last two months.
Allegations: Trump Administration is Ignoring Important Legal Safeguards
- Violation #1: Immigration Officers are Not Always Writing Real Addresses on Paperwork
According to the Los Angeles Times, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officers are simply writing the phrase “known address” on the paperwork of many migrants. In other words, no actual address is being included in the documents. This violates U.S. law.
Importantly, the lack of a real address makes it virtually impossible for asylum seekers to get sent any new information regarding their court date. If their hearing is rescheduled — which can and does happen — they may never even find out about it.
Missing an asylum court date is a serious problem. Among other things, it could lead to an applicant’s claim being denied on procedural grounds and it could even result in a bar from obtaining legal status in the United States.
- Violation #2: No Translations, Unusable Phone Number
In most cases, asylum seekers are being given information and instructions in both English and Spanish. While the inclusion of Spanish instructions is extremely important, it is insufficient. The majority of the asylum seekers are from rural parts of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Many of these people do not speak Spanish — instead, they speak indigenous languages.
The report indicates that asylum seekers who are being sent back to Mexico are being given a 1-800 number that they can call for additional information. Unfortunately, this phone number apparently only works if you dial from inside the United States — making it virtually unusable for the people who need it.
- Violation #3: Unsafe Conditions in Mexico
Finally, the most troubling aspect of this entire process is the lack of concern for migrant safety. There is overwhelming evidence that Mexico is simply not a safe location for asylum seekers. Many people are being sent to border cities of Juarez and Tijuana, which are both known for high rates of violent crime. Shelters in the cities are already well over their normal capacity. Even the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory for Mexico — warning Americans to exercise caution due to high rates of violent crime and kidnapping.
Consult With a Asylum Rights Attorney Today
At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our asylum lawyer is passionate about protecting migrant rights. To arrange a confidential consultation with an experienced asylum attorney, please call us today. We represent communities throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles, San Bernardino, East Los Angeles, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Ontario, and Huntington Beach.