FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 1, 2022
Remain in Mexico Must End, Individuals Subjected to the Policy Must Be Brought to Safety
Washington – Last week, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the Mexican government violated Mexican law by accepting the implementation of Remain in Mexico without publishing guidelines on the protection of human rights. In response, advocates in the United States and Mexico called on both governments to ensure all individuals and families subjected to the illegal and inhumane RMX policy are granted a fair opportunity to apply for asylum in the safety of the United States and that the policy is never re-implemented. As U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas stated in his memo terminating RMX, the Remain in Mexico program is inherently flawed, and no amount of changes can make the policy humane or fair.
“Remain in Mexico was a horrific program that impeded the right to asylum for tens of thousands of people and was exacerbated by the fact that the Mexican government provided no public guidelines to help asylum seekers waiting in Mexico understand how they were supposed to access immigration documentation, employment, health care, education and due process rights. The Supreme Court case sets an important precedent for migration policy in Mexico, clearly establishing that when Mexico accepts people back across the border the government must publish detailed guidelines setting out how the government will protect migrants´ human rights that can be monitored and evaluated by migrants and organizations,” said Gretchen Kuhner, Executive Director of El Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración, AC (IMUMI).
“#WelcomeWithDignity is grateful for the work of the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI) that resulted in the Mexican Supreme Court ruling that the government of Mexico violated procedural process when it negotiated the Remain in Mexico policy with the U.S. government,” said Melina Roche, #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign Manager. “We urge the Mexican and U.S. governments to right the wrongs of this policy that has harmed thousands of people by ensuring that every individual can seek safety in a manner that upholds due process.”
“The Remain in Mexico policy was cruel and inhumane, and put innocent moms and families in grave danger,” said Xochitl Oseguera, Vice President of MamásConPoder. “It was a gross violation of basic human rights as well as international law. Its end, for whatever reason, is most welcome and long overdue. People fleeing violence must have the opportunity to apply for asylum in the United States and to be safe while their application is being considered. America’s moms want all immigrants and asylum-seekers to be treated with compassion, dignity and respect.”
“It comes as no surprise that the Supreme Court of Mexico found the Remain in Mexico program unlawful, in violation of asylum seekers’ human rights,” said Tasha Moro, Communications Director at Justice Action Center. “Since the program was first implemented in 2019, impacted migrants, scholars, and advocates have chronicled the deadly consequences of RMX. There continues to be no moral or lawful path forward except for the U.S. Government to disenroll all asylum seekers in the program—regardless of wherever they may currently reside—and allow them to exercise their legal right to seek safety.”
“The Florence Project welcomes this decision as yet another resounding recognition of the extent to which Remain in Mexico violates domestic and international laws,” said Chelsea Sachau, Managing Attorney of the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project’s Border Action Team. “We welcome the mounting acknowledgment that the United States and Mexico both failed to protect the rights and safety of asylum seekers while this program existed. Nevertheless, this decision is over three years too late for thousands of individuals harmed by a policy that never should have existed. More than anything, this decision is one more reason on a lengthy list for why future leaders of these countries should never agree to such a policy again.”
“Remain in Mexico was started by the Trump administration to deny migrants their right to fairly and safely seek asylum under U.S. and international law. While we celebrate the end of this inhumane policy, the Biden administration continues to embrace Title 42, which similarly pushes migrants into danger,” said Jennifer Babaie, U.S.-Mexico Border Program Director at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). “Mexico’s Supreme Court’s ruling reflects what advocates have documented for years: that Remain in Mexico endangered thousands of asylum seekers without any plan to protect them. Now that the policy has ended, the U.S. and Mexico must ensure all migrants, including those previously enrolled in Remain Mexico, have fair and humane access to asylum.”
“As an Indigenous-led organization, we are too aware of how this policy, Remain in Mexico (MPP), ends up harming Indigenous peoples of Central America,” said Dr. Jessica Hernandez from the International Mayan League. “We applaud Mexico’s supreme court in its most recent ruling, but we wholeheartedly hope that this decision is also backed up with actions to undo the harm and damage this oppressive policy had enacted against those who justly deserved asylum but were denied it because of this policy.”
“The Supreme Court of Mexico recognized what we have known from the beginning: Remain in Mexico is a dangerous policy that violates international refugee law and places vulnerable people in harm’s way,” said Kate Jastram, Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “When CGRS brought legal challenges to Remain in Mexico here in the United States, our courts reached the very same conclusion. But our governments should not wait for a court order to do right by people seeking safety. The U.S. government must stop pushing asylum seekers back to Mexico and allow those who have suffered under the policy to continue their asylum claims in the United States in safety. Communities on both sides of the border stand ready to assist them.”
“We celebrate the decision of the Supreme Court of Mexico, but it has come three years too late,” said the Quixote Center. “The Remain in Mexico program violated international law by forcing thousands of asylum seekers to await their cases in some of the most dangerous cities in the world. We urge the governments of the U.S. and Mexico to coordinate the full restoration of asylum rather than continue to deny it to thousands of vulnerable people.”
“The Mexican Supreme Court has confirmed what immigrant rights attorneys and advocates have been saying for years- the Migrant Protection Protocols program was a human rights disaster. The Migrant Protection Protocols program exposed people, including young children, to maltreatment, violence, and trauma. We cannot abandon the people who were exposed to this program and are still trapped in danger in Mexico. They deserve to vindicate their right to asylum and must be paroled into the United States to lawfully pursue their claims,” said Lindsay Toczylowski, Executive Director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center.
“Women’s Refugee Commission welcomes the decision by the Mexican Supreme Court, which found that the Mexican government failed to take the adequate steps to uphold the human rights of migrants when implementing Remain in Mexico, and we congratulate the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI) for this timely victory,” said Savitri Arvey, Senior Policy Advisor in the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “Remain in Mexico inflicted extreme harm on thousands of people who were sent back to wait in Mexico under the policy, and we call on the US and Mexican governments to ensure that all individuals subjected to its cruelty are brought to safety and given due process.”
The Welcome with Dignity Campaign for asylum rights is composed of more than 100 national and regional organizations committed to transforming the way the United States receives and protects people forced to flee their homes to ensure they are treated humanely and fairly. To learn more and join our campaign visit: welcomewithdignity.org