‘Remain in Mexico’ Plan Violates Our Obligations To Protect Families Seeking Asylum

SAN DIEGO, CA — Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced a dangerous and deadly plan to force families seeking asylum to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed in the United States.

The “Remain in Mexico” plan, agreed to by Mexico, violates our legal and moral obligations to people fleeing dangerous, life-threatening situations who are asking for safety and protection at our nation’s borders. Forcing families seeking asylum to wait in Mexico undermines due process and access to legal counsel, which is critical to their cases.

Families already have to spend months in Mexico waiting to approach the Port of Entry to ask for asylum, often exposed to unhealthy conditions and dangerous situations. In fact, this week, two Honduran teenage boys awaiting their turn to request asylum were murdered in Tijuana.

Lillian Serrano, chair of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, issued the following statement:

“We have a legal and moral obligation to provide safety and protection to families who are literally running for their lives. This plan endangers people applying for asylum since many of them are not safe in Mexico and can become easy targets for smugglers and organize crime. These families should be allowed in to make their case and be released to the safety and care of our communities while their cases are processed.

We at our best when we live by our values of compassion, dignity and respect. However, this plan brings out the worst in us because it will force many families with legitimate claims to be erroneously returned to the dangerous situations they fled. At the end of the day, we should treat arriving families the way we would want our own loved ones to be treated.

About the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium

The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium is a project of Alliance San Diego. Since 2007, community, faith, labor, and legal organizations have come together as the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC). Through SDIRC, these organizations are pursuing four common goals: support comprehensive immigration reform; stop the spread of local policies and practices that target and violate the civil and human rights of immigrants; educate immigrants, and educate the public about the important contributions of immigrants. More at: www.immigrantsandiego.org.