Press

Honoring International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 9, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

Honoring International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

 

Piscataway Lands – On the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign for asylum rights again affirms the rights of our Indigenous partners, including the right to exist, self-determination, and recognition of their Indigenous identities.  Indigenous peoples are disproportionately impacted in their lands a​​d territories by imposed development projects, climate change, and oppressive systems that persecute, criminalize, and kill Indigenous leaders and forcibly displace Indigenous communities. These conditions force Indigenous peoples to flee from their ancestral lands and to seek safety from persecution and violence in countries like the United States.  Indigenous peoples like all refugees have the right to due process, including the right to resources in their Indigenous languages to ensure their ability to communicate, particularly when presenting asylum claims.  We stand by calls from our Indigenous partners, such as the International Mayan League,  for the Biden administration to work with Indigenous peoples, organizations, and political institutions to address existing flaws within the U.S. immigration system and respect the particular rights of Indigenous asylum seekers. On this day we remind the administration of their domestic and international human rights obligations to ensure a safe and dignified process when seeking asylum.  The United States has endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and should use the Declaration as the bare minimum standard in developing policies to protect Indigenous peoples in migration.

 

“Since 2018, we have been demanding accountability and justice for Indigenous peoples before the U.S. government and the United Nations,” said Juanita Cabrera Lopez (Maya Mam), Executive Director of the International Mayan League. “Since May 2018, there have been at least five Maya children and one young Maya woman who died at the U.S.-Mexico border under U.S. government custody or were killed by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents. Today, per the Office of Refugee and Resettlement, 47% of children in their custody are from Guatemala; The White House Task Force has confirmed that 58% of impacted families are from Guatemala; and 46,210 Guatemalan adults and unaccompanied minors have been deported under Title 42.  Guatemala is an Indigenous majority country therefore Indigenous peoples are disproportionately impacted by these policies. We continue to stress that the full scope of the grave human rights violations experienced by Indigenous Peoples is not understood or addressed because our Indigeneity is not recognized and we are Invisible. On this day and moving forward, recognition of our existence as Indigenous peoples, our rights, and our solutions are critical for any meaningful change for Indigenous peoples and families in migration.”

 

“Far too often Indigenous peoples forced to flee their lands who try to find refuge in the United States do not receive a fair opportunity to exercise the right to seek asylum,” said Licha Nyiendo, chief legal officer for Human Rights First. “We have seen from the experiences of our clients and in our research that the failure to provide appropriate translation services disparately impacts Indigenous peoples – making it impossible for some to explain to U.S. officials their fear of return and resulting in their illegal refoulement. The U.S. government’s continued use of the Title 42 policy to block and expel asylum seekers to danger without an opportunity to apply for asylum also disparately impacts Indigenous peoples who are fleeing countries that have been subjected to the overwhelming majority of expulsions. To begin to address the disparate treatment of Indigenous asylum seekers the U.S. government must consult with Indigenous peoples, recognize their Indigenous identities, and provide appropriate translation services in all immigration and asylum settings.”

 

“On the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we recognize the disparate treatment that Indigenous peoples who migrate to the United States experience – including due to a lack of consistent resources and translation in their Indigenous languages when applying for asylum,” said Katharina Obser, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “We call on the Biden administration to uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as well as routinely consult with Indigenous peoples, organizations, and political bodies to ensure that Indigenous peoples seeking protection can do so in an equitable, dignified manner.”

“On the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, we honor the rights and leadership of Indigenous peoples, including those seeking refuge,” said Kate Jastram, Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies. “Indigenous peoples are disparately impacted by the conditions that drive forced migration, including severe racial and ethnic discrimination, gender-based violence, political repression, and climate change. Indigenous people seeking asylum are particularly vulnerable to violence during their journeys to the U.S. southern border and suffer grave harm due to draconian U.S. and Mexico policies designed to impede their movement and block them from seeking safety. Those who reach the United States encounter profound barriers to due process, including a lack of interpretation and translation resources. We urge the U.S. government to listen to Indigenous leaders, and ensure that Indigenous individuals seeking asylum are provided the support they need to meaningfully present their claims.”

 

“We stand with Indigenous peoples not just today but every day,” said Daniella Burgi-Palomino, Latin America Working Group Co-director. “We call on the Biden Administration to consult with Indigenous organizations and Indigenous leaders in its immigration and foreign policymaking. We must address the egregious rights violations committed against Indigenous migrants and asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, and ensure access to culturally appropriate services for Indigenous migrants throughout immigration proceedings in the United States. Respecting Indigenous communities’ rights to their lands and livelihoods, to not be displaced by companies and governments from their homes and protecting their leaders as environmental defenders must also be a crucial part of the administration’s strategies to address the root causes of migration.”

 

“Establishing a compassionate asylum and refugee system in the United States matters for indigenous populations throughout the American hemisphere and the world. We must end Title 42 and the Remain in Mexico policies,” said Pablo DeJesús, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice. “The majority of the world’s indigenous peoples reside on the planet’s remaining biodiversity, perhaps as much as eighty percent. That means they suffer a disproportionately high share of displacement due to climate crisis risks and conflict related to resource extraction. Too often they are forced to flee their homes, ancestral lands, in response to the increasing political violence associated with both risks. We need the Administration to respect the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples and establish a refugee and asylum system that centers on dignity and service for all people fleeing danger. The right to migrate away from harm is a universal right, codified in human history, if not in law.”

 

“On this International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and everyday, we acknowledge we are on stolen land and honor the Indigenous cultures colonialism has attempted to invisibilize,” said Tasha Moro, Communications Director of the Justice Action Center. “Climate change and forced removal disproportionately affect Indigenous peoples globally often leading to forced migration. In turn, asylum seekers face barriers such as insufficient language translation, access to life-saving resources, and layered discrimination. Immigration justice must be rooted in a commitment to the freedom of Indigenous people worldwide and the right to seek safety in the face of government-sanctioned violence and displacement. We honor the leadership of Indigenous organizations working to directly improve the lives of migrants, protect the environment and the traditions that defend it.”

 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

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Remain in Mexico Ends – A Step Towards Restoring Asylum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 9, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

Remain in Mexico Ends – A Step Towards Restoring Asylum

 

Washington – Yesterday a district court lifted the order that had prevented the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from ending the “Remain in Mexico” policy. The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign applauds DHS’s swift announcement that it will immediately halt new enrollments in the program and bring individuals subjected to the court-ordered reimplementation of the policy into the United States to continue their asylum process with the support of their families and communities.

 

Asylum seekers forced to Remain in Mexico under the deadly Trump-era policy have been stranded in dangerous and life-threatening conditions, where they have faced kidnapping, violence, and homelessness. Like other anti-asylum policies, Remain in Mexico has had a devastating human toll, with disparate impacts on Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum. The policy is an affront to our ideals and a humanitarian and due process disaster. 

 

Leading immigrant and refugee rights organizations have outlined immediate actions the Biden administration should take to bring people subjected to Remain in Mexico to safety and previously provided recommendations on expanding the initial wind down to ensure that people subjected to the policy under the Trump administration are not left behind. 

 

Even after a resounding loss at the Supreme Court, the states of Texas and Missouri have redoubled their attempts to preserve Remain in Mexico, filing an amended complaint challenging the second DHS memo terminating the policy on Monday night. We urge the administration to continue to fight any effort to force the reimplementation of the Remain in Mexico policy, which DHS again described yesterday as having “endemic flaws” and “impos[ing] unjustifiable human costs”.

“The International Rescue Committee welcomes the news that MPP will finally come to an end. Restrictive and inhumane border policies only fuel the further exploitation of those in desperate need of safety. We call on the Biden Administration to continue working, alongside organizations at the border, to take all necessary actions to end policies that have harmed asylum seekers by returning them to danger, separating families, and denying them their dignity and humanity,” said Olga Byrne, Director, Asylum and Immigration Legal Services at the International Rescue Committee.

“The Department of Homeland Security is rightly taking steps to end this fatally flawed policy,” said Eleanor Acer, senior director for refugee protection at Human Rights First. “From its inception, Remain in Mexico has inflicted suffering on people seeking asylum, impeded legal representation, and wasted government resources. This humanitarian fiasco should be ended as quickly as possible. Any attempt to force the continuation of this failed policy must be rejected for what it is: irresponsible political theater that endangers the lives of people seeking refuge.” 

 

Sunil Varghese, Policy Director at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), said: “We appreciate the Biden Administration’s decision to finally begin winding down the cruel “Remain in Mexico” policy, following recent court decisions, which prevented people fleeing persecution and torture from exercising their right to seek asylum in the United States. This is a late, but important step towards undoing the harms of the previous administration. However, without restoring full access to asylum, including by ending Title 42, asylum seekers will continue to be forced into inhumane, and often deadly, situations.”

 

“Since its inception, Remain in Mexico (RMX) has put thousands of migrants in danger. For too long, asylum seekers have been isolated from attorneys and cut off from due process, sent to areas where their safety cannot be guaranteed leaving them vulnerable to kidnapping, torture, and extortion,” said Crystal Sandoval, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and Co-Director of Las Americas Mexico. “Ending RMX means that these individuals will have support from organizations like Las Americas to safely seek asylum. This is an opportunity for Biden’s administration to work closely with organizations on the ground to ensure that migration happens with humanity and due process. Our team is prepared to do what it takes to ensure the safety of families, children, and adults.”

 

“We are glad the Biden administration is taking steps to end Remain in Mexico and bring those subjected to the policy to safety,” said Blaine Bookey, Legal Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies. “For over three years, the Remain in Mexico policy has trampled on the rights of people seeking asylum and exposed them to grave harm. The Biden administration must now ensure that all those who have suffered so grievously under the policy have a fair and meaningful opportunity to pursue their legal claims safely and with the support of their family and communities in the United States. This should include not only individuals with pending cases, but also those left behind in the administration’s first attempt to wind down Remain in Mexico last year, as well as those wrongly denied protection as a result of the policy’s fundamental flaws. And as anti-immigrant politicians redouble their efforts to preserve Remain in Mexico, the Biden administration must continue to vigorously defend its decision to end the policy.”

 

“The courts have spoken, now the Biden Administration must act to end the Remain in Mexico policy once and for all,” states Daniella Burgi-Palomino, Co-director of the Latin America Working Group (LAWG). “For over two years, advocates have fought to end this policy because of the danger and death it caused migrants waiting in Mexico. The suffering should end now. The Biden Administration should quickly coordinate with civil society organizations on both sides of the border to process those still in Mexico and let them claim asylum from within the United States and in the safety of their family and friends.”

 

Joanna Williams, Executive Director at the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), said: “My mind and heart are full of the faces and voices of so many individuals and families who we have accompanied in these last three years after they were subject to MPP. I’m relieved to know that, thanks in part to their advocacy, no one else will suffer anew in this program. In this critical moment, we recommit to working towards humane and just policy for all asylum seekers at the border, including those currently stranded by Title 42.” 

 

“The error and era of Remain in Mexico must conclude. It is time to end the harm: the threats, kidnappings, assaults, rapes, and deaths. The policy decision by the Administration has been vindicated and affirmed by the courts. The Department of Homeland Security must quickly establish normal, humane processing of asylum requests at the southern border,” said Pablo DeJesús, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice. “As Unitarian Universalists, our principles call us to respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person. This means we take pleas for relief or asylum seriously and treat our fellow human beings with dignity. It’s time to stop excusing vitriolic anti-immigrant sentiment with wrongheaded policies like MPP and Title 42. It is time to stop sending people to dangerous settings mendaciously pretending it’s on reasonable grounds backed by sound policy.”

 

“We’re pleased that the U.S. has stopped placing migrants in the Remain-in-Mexico (MPP) program and will begin to disenroll those currently in MPP. Allowing individuals to seek asylum within the U.S. is an important first step, and, we now call on the Biden Administration to fully restore access to asylum for all who seek it,” said Priscilla Orta, Supervising Attorney for Lawyers for Good Government’s Project Corazon in Brownsville, Texas. “Seeking asylum is a human right, and a legal one at that. We must all continue to fight for a more just and welcoming immigration system.”

 

Raha Wala, deputy director for legislative advocacy at the National Immigration Law Center, said: “The courts have spoken, and we applaud the Biden administration for halting all new enrollments into the disastrous Trump-era Remain in Mexico policy that slammed the door on thousands of people seeking safety and subjected them to grave danger. Now, we urge the Biden administration to take additional action to ensure every person harmed by this policy can fairly and expeditiously pursue their asylum claim from within the United States.” 

 

“For too many years, our government has put children at risk by forcing vulnerable asylum seekers to return to Mexico, and it took a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court to undo this harmful policy,” said Christy Gleason, Vice President of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children. “We welcome DHS’s announcement on the wind down of the Remain in Mexico program, but we urge them to take immediate action to ensure that no more children are denied their right to safety and protection. Every day of delay is another day our government leaves kids and families living in danger.”

 

“Today we say a long-deserved goodbye to Remain in Mexico,” said Dylan Corbett, Executive Director, Hope Border Institute. “Now it is time for us to send Title 42 to the same dustbin and begin to rebuild a safe, welcoming and humane system of protection for every vulnerable person on the mover at the border.” 

 

“The Biden administration took the right action when it originally moved to end Remain in Mexico– and now it has an opportunity to do so swiftly and justly,” said Erin Mazursky, Interim Managing Director of Families Belong Together. “From this day on, no one should be enrolled in Remain in Mexico. We are looking to the Biden administration to pave the path forward for families and individuals fleeing danger and violence, allowing all who have been in Remain in Mexico to safely pursue asylum claims in the United States. We look forward to the Biden administration’s guidance and hope they will act with the urgency that families seeking safety deserve.”

 

“We are relieved to see that the Biden administration is finally going to keep its promise and put an end to the harmful ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy,” said Nili Sarit Yossinger, Executive Director for Refugee Congress. There is no time to waste, though. The administration must take immediate steps to provide each and every person that was denied their right to claim asylum a new opportunity to do so, and to protect this right from any future attempts to deny asylum seekers access to safety. Our communities are strong because of our commitment to welcome and inclusion, and that begins at our border.

 

“The Women’s Refugee Commission applauds the Biden administration’s decision to finally end the cruel, Trump-era Remain in Mexico policy,” said Katharina Obser, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “For years, the Women’s Refugee Commission and others have documented the harm and risks experienced by those forced to return to danger under the policy. The Biden administration itself rightfully denounced the horrors of the program. We now urge the administration to swiftly and safely return those still trapped in Mexico to the United States, and to ensure they can pursue their asylum claims with dignity and with the support of their families and communities.”

 

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

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Advocates Celebrate Passage of a Clean Inflation Reduction Act in the Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 7, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

Advocates Celebrate Passage of a Clean Inflation Reduction Act in the Senate

 

Washington – The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign for asylum rights celebrates the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 in the Senate today. The legislation represents a major win for activists in the climate and healthcare movements. Importantly, passing the legislation without anti-immigrant poison pills, including provisions to codify Title 42 – a failed and deadly asylum ban – comes after months of advocacy from #WelcomeWithDignity, its campaign members, and the public. The campaign is deeply grateful for the leadership of Senators Menendez (NJ) and Padilla (CA) and the Senators who held the line protecting immigrant communities from this and other harmful amendments. 

#WelcomeWithDignity campaign manager Melina Roche lauded the victory:

“Today, the Senate delivered a historic bill to address climate change and healthcare costs while standing united against anti-immigrant amendments that would end asylum or harm immigrant communities. This is a victory for the environment, affordable healthcare, and also our campaign and partners. We are especially grateful to our champions, Senator Menendez and Senator Padilla, for their leadership and steadfast commitment to passing this bill without undermining the legal right for people to seek safety. We now urge the House to pass the Inflation Reduction Act swiftly. ”  

 

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

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Pass a CLEAN Inflation Reduction Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 5, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

Pass a CLEAN Inflation Reduction Act

#WelcomeWithDignity urges ‘no’ votes on any anti-asylum or anti-immigrant poison pills during the budget reconciliation process.

 

Washington – The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign for asylum rights calls on Congress to vote ‘no’ on any anti-immigrant or anti-asylum amendments during the upcoming budget reconciliation process. Adopting such poison pills in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 could threaten the passage of this critical legislation. 

 

Not only would adding provisions to codify Title 42 derail the bill’s passage, but it would also support  a policy that CBP is using to expel 30,806 children ages 3 and under—with about 41 percent of these expulsions occurring at midnight or later, according to recent findings by the CATO Institute. The report is the latest example of Title 42’s staggering and unconscionable harm.

 

“The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign joins Senators Menéndez (NJ) and Padilla (CA) in urging the Senate to reject any amendments that would harm immigrant communities or asylum-seekers. Addressing climate change, healthcare, taxes, and inflation is vital and desperately needed progress – that’s why the Senate must not set up the budget reconciliation bill to fail by adding in dangerous anti-immigrant amendments.

 

If the Senate adopts extremist amendments, like codifying Title 42, to the Inflation Reduction Act, the #WelcomeWithDignty will oppose its passage. For far too long, Title 42 has harmed countless migrants and people seeking protection, including those who are especially vulnerable such as Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ asylum-seekers. Furthermore, this policy has only benefitted nefarious actors seizing on the desperation of people fleeing for their lives.” – Melina Roche, #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign Manager. 

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign 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

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Following SCOTUS Certification, Remain in Mexico Must End Once and For All

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

Following SCOTUS Certification, Remain in Mexico Must End Once and For All

 

Washington – Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court certified its decision in Biden v. Texas, sending the ruling back down to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. This opens the door for the Biden administration to end the dangerous and illegal Remain in Mexico policy, once and for all. With lives hanging in the balance, there is no time to lose. The Biden administration should immediately halt all returns of asylum seekers under Remain in Mexico and ensure that the Fifth Circuit swiftly vacates the lower court injunction that forced the policy’s resumption last year.

 

Asylum seekers forced to “Remain in Mexico” under the deadly Trump-era policy have been stranded in dangerous and life-threatening conditions, where they have faced kidnapping, violence, and homelessness. Like other anti-asylum policies, Remain in Mexico has had a devastating human toll, with disparate impacts on Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ people seeking asylum. The policy is an affront to our ideals and a humanitarian and due process disaster. Leading immigrant and refugee rights organizations have outlined immediate actions the Biden administration should take to bring people who have been subject to Remain in Mexico to safety, and allow them to pursue their claims within the United States, with the support of their families and communities. 

 

“We stress that the full scope of the grave human rights violations experienced by Indigenous Peoples under MPP is not understood because it has not been adequately documented. Said Juanita Cabrera Lopez, Maya Mam and the Executive Director of the International Mayan League. “Due to the misclassification of Indigenous Peoples in the entire immigration system as Latino, Hispanic or simply Guatemalan, the actual numbers of Indigenous peoples affected by MPP is not known. Indigenous peoples cannot communicate their fear of persecution or their fear to return to Mexico because most are monolingual and speak their native language. Due process and justice cannot be achieved for Indigenous Peoples if we are denied our right to exist. The Bident Administration must do everything in its power to once and for all end MPP”

 

“With the Supreme Court’s ruling certified, there is no excuse for the Biden administration to continue dragging its feet,” said Kate Jastram, Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “For over three years, the Remain in Mexico policy has trapped people seeking asylum in dangerous conditions and deprived them of their rights. In lawsuits brought by CGRS and our partners, multiple federal courts found the policy to violate the United States’ domestic and international legal obligations to people fleeing persecution. It is time for the administration to live up to its promises, restart our asylum system, and begin to redress the profound harm the Remain in Mexico policy has inflicted.”

 

“The current Remain in Mexico program must immediately end for the safety and well-being of asylum seekers who deserve to be treated humanely by the United States government.” said Margaret Cargioli, Directing Attorney at the Immigrant Defenders Law Center. “Asylum seekers who have been forced to remain in Mexico since the Trump administration initiated this cruel policy must also immediately be allowed to enter the U.S. for a fair opportunity to seek asylum within the United States. All harms caused by this unjust program must be redressed.”

 

“The horrific human cost of RMX—which DHS has itself has recognized—makes clear that the Biden Administration must swiftly and humanely end the program once and for all,” said Karen Tumlin, Founder and Director at Justice Action Center. “Tens of thousands of asylum seekers have been harmed by RMX while exercising their right to seek safety, and they must now be allowed to pursue their asylum claims; meanwhile, no new people should be placed in this shameful program. The case is officially back at the Fifth Circuit, and it is now incumbent upon them to vacate the district court injunction that originally blocked the Administration’s planned wind-down of RMX.”

 

“Welcoming and keeping our immigrant brothers and sisters safe and healthy while they process their asylum claims in the US is in all of our best interests.”–Kate Sugarman, MD Doctors for Camp Closure

 

“As I have said many times before, Protection delayed is protection denied” said Guerline Jozef, Founder and Executive Director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance. We have witnessed the human cost and harm of these Cruel policies that force Black and Brown people to remain in dangerous conditions in Mexico. Now the Biden-Harris administration has no excuse and they must immediately take the necessary steps to stop trump’s inhumane use of MPP so it does not become an integral part of president Biden’s legacy moving forward. People seeking protection must be safe and not stranded. 

 

“We urge the Biden Administration to do everything in its power to quickly end MPP and establish an effective and efficient asylum process that offers protection to those who seek it,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director at Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. “Our staff at the border are ready and willing to work with local organizations and authorities to accompany those placed into MPP to ensure that they are able to safely pursue their asylum claims in the United States.”

 

“With the certification today of its decision in Biden v. Texas, the Supreme Court clears the way for the Biden administration to end the Remain in Mexico program once and for all,” said Rachel Sheridan, Litigation Counsel at the Tahirih Justice Center. “This cruel policy has endangered tens of thousands of vulnerable people, including survivors of gender-based violence, by sending them to unsafe conditions in Mexico. It is long past time to end this senseless program, which needlessly puts survivors in further peril. We call on the Biden administration to deliver on its promise to terminate Remain in Mexico and provide an orderly, safe, and humane process for all survivors of violence to seek asylum in the United States.”

 

It’s high time to end Remain in Mexico. President Biden must make good on his promise to do this, which is crucial to ‘restore the soul’ of our nation.”–Thomas Cartwright, Witness at the Border

 

“The Biden administration has proof of concept when it comes to ending MPP,” said Marisa Limón Garza, senior director for advocacy and programming at the Hope Border Institute. “Now is the time for swift action in close collaboration with community-based organizations at the southern border and beyond.”

 

“Time and again, the Biden administration has rightly denounced the harms of the Remain in Mexico program – one of the Trump administration’s many legacies intended to decimate access to asylum,” said Katharina Obser, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “Given that the Supreme Court’s decision is now certified, the Biden administration should not waste a moment more to stop enrolling people in the program and ensure that those who’ve been forced to wait in Mexico can safely and swiftly continue their U.S. asylum process from within the United States. Each day the Remain in Mexico program lives on, the lives of those legally seeking protection at U.S. borders are endangered. If the administration wants to set an example of refugee protection globally, it must begin at home.”

“The Biden Administration has ended Remain in Mexico successfully before, and it should not delay in ending it again,” said Ronnate Asirwatham, Director, Government Relations, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.  “Any delay means death and the destruction of dignity for immigrants. As Pope Francis says, only if we reach out to all, ensuring no one is left behind that we can build a future together of justice and peace.”

 

“President Biden ran on a platform to reclaim the soul of America by taking urgent action to undo Trump’s damage and reclaim our values as a nation of immigrants,” said Tami Goodlette, Director of Litigation at RAICES. “Unfortunately, this administration has repeatedly failed to keep its promises to immigrant communities. But with the Supreme Court’s certified judgment, there are no more excuses. President Biden, the time has come to end the cruel and immoral Remain in Mexico policy once and for all.”

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign 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

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PRESIDENT BIDEN PROMISED TO END MPP.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 30, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

PRESIDENT BIDEN PROMISED TO END MPP.

End Remain in Mexico Now.

 

Washington – In response to reports that the Biden administration is still inexplicably debating whether to end Remain in Mexico, otherwise known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP),  the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign urges the President to keep his campaign promise to end the inhumane program. Leading immigrant and refugee rights organizations have outlined immediate actions for the administration to allow people enrolled in the program to pursue their asylum cases within the U.S. Asylum seekers returned to Mexico under this policy have been subject to dangerous and life-threatening conditions, including kidnapping.  Policies blocking asylum at the border have a devastating human toll on those seeking safety, particularly to Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQI persons. The policy is an affront to our ideals and a humanitarian disaster.

 

“The President must follow through with his campaign promise to end the cruel Remain in Mexico program. Anything short of a swift termination disregards the physical and psychological harm this program has caused to thousands of people seeking safety,” said Melina Roche, #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign Manager. “At a minimum, this administration should prove to the American people that they are not following in the footsteps of the xenophobic, anti-immigrant administration that proceeded it. The administration must stand by their success in the Supreme Court by immediately terminating the policy and ensuring that everyone enrolled in Remain in Mexico can finally pursue their asylum claims safely in the United States.”

 

“The Trump “wall” was always far more than a concrete barrier. It was an array of policies designed to deny asylum to those in desperate need of protection. And MPP was a pillar of this effort to promote a dystopian approach toward border management. President Biden must denounce and end this unjust policy,” said Eric Schwartz, President, Refugees International.

“We are appalled by reports that Biden administration officials would even consider preserving Trump’s dangerous and illegal Remain in Mexico policy,” said Kate Jastram, Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “As the administration has acknowledged, Remain in Mexico is an untenable policy that has exposed thousands of people seeking asylum to grave harm. Ending this travesty was a day one promise by President Biden, and last month the Supreme Court affirmed that it is fully within the administration’s authority to do so. The Biden administration should take the win, act swiftly to wind down Remain in Mexico, and ensure those who have suffered under the policy have a meaningful opportunity to pursue their legal claims safely, in the United States. Every single day this policy remains in place, human lives are in danger. There is no time to lose.”

 

“We strongly urge the administration to keep its promise and reverse Remain in Mexico, and immediately proceed with protecting and assisting all those who were impacted by this inhumane policy. Indeed, to continue to debate a policy that should never have been enacted in the first place is shameful, damaging, and runs contrary to who we are as a nation of welcome,” said Nili Sarit Yossinger, Executive Director for Refugee Congress.

 

“Time and again, the Biden administration has rightly denounced the harms of the Remain in Mexico program – one of the Trump administration’s many legacies intended to decimate access to asylum,” said Katharina Obser, Director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “In light of the Supreme Court’s decision, the Biden administration should act immediately to ensure that those who’ve been forced to wait in Mexico can safely and swiftly continue their U.S. asylum process from within the United States. Each day the Remain in Mexico program lives on, the lives of those legally seeking protection at U.S. borders are endangered. If the administration wants to set an example of refugee protection globally, it must begin at home.”

 

“As its reimplementation confirmed, the Remain in Mexico policy is inherently flawed and a danger to people seeking asylum,” said Eleanor Acer, Senior Director for Refugee Protection at Human Rights First. “Anything less than a swift and principled end to this failed policy would continue to inflict human suffering, bolster false narratives peddled by allies of the former administration, undermine the administration’s credibility and subvert refugee law globally. The Biden administration and Department of Homeland Security should move forward urgently to honor their promises and finally bring this disgraceful policy to an end.”   

 

“MPP denies asylum seekers meaningful access to justice. This fundamentally important right under our Constitution must be upheld,” said Sara Ramey, Executive Director of the Migrant Center for Human Rights. “Here on the Texas-Mexico border we have seen first-hand how MPP prevents individuals from obtaining U.S. legal counsel, a basic necessity for people trying to navigate our complex immigration system. As a legal service organization, not only do we see the devastating human cost of MPP, but we have witnessed unrepresented asylum seekers’ almost universal inability to adequately present their cases in court, resulting in extremely high denial rates in comparison to those who are allowed to pursue their cases inside the U.S. The disparity in denial rates indicates that, due solely to MPP, our country is illegally refouling bona fide refugees to countries where they face real threats of persecution and torture.”

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign 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

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REPRESENTATIVE JUDY CHU AND WELCOMERS: KEEP ANTI-ASYLUM AMENDMENTS OUT OF BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 28, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

REPRESENTATIVE JUDY CHU AND WELCOMERS: KEEP ANTI-ASYLUM AMENDMENTS OUT OF BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS

Campaign urges ‘no’ votes on any anti-asylum or anti-immigrant poison pills during budget reconciliation that could threaten the passage of this important legislation.

 

Listen to the recording of the call here

 

Washington – United States Representative Judy Chu (CA-27) joined leaders from grass-roots organizations in Texas, Washington, DC and New York City who have stepped into welcome people seeking asylum on a press call today to call on Congress to defend the right to seek asylum. The speakers highlighted widespread community support for welcoming asylum-seekers into their cities. The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign calls on Congress to vote ‘no’ on any anti-immigrant or anti-asylum amendments during the upcoming budget reconciliation process. The adoption of such poison pills in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 could threaten the passage of this important legislation.

 

“On behalf of the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign, I urge the Senate to reject any amendments that would harm immigrant communities or asylum-seekers. Addressing climate change, healthcare, taxes, and inflation is important and desperately needed progress – that’s why the Senate must not set up the budget reconciliation bill to fail by adding in destructive anti-immigrant amendments,” said Melina Roche, #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign Manager. “If the Senate adopts extremist amendments, like codifying Title 42, to the budget reconciliation bill, we will oppose its passage. For far too long, Title 42 has harmed countless migrants and people seeking protection, including those who are especially vulnerable such as Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ asylum-seekers. Furthermore, this policy has only benefitted nefarious actors seizing on the desperation of people fleeing for their lives.”

 

“I was relieved to see the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that the Biden administration will no longer be forced to implement Trump’s cruel Remain in Mexico program — however, even though this decision was a victory, there is much work to be done to restore dignity and humanity to migrants who come to our Southern border in the hopes of a better life. This starts with ending the shameful Title 42 border expulsions,” said Rep. Judy Chu of California’s 27th District. “Like many of my colleagues, I am disappointed and frustrated by the House Appropriations Committee’s inclusion of amendments which would prevent the CDC from ending the application of Title 42 to asylum seekers at the border — and I strongly oppose any effort to codify or prolong Title 42 border expulsions. Rather, Congress should commit to finding a permanent humanitarian solution to ensure adults and families going through the immigration process are received with dignity.”

 

“We recently learned that people have donated about $160,000 to Governor Abbott’s effort to bus people to DC. And we – the DC community – have raised over $350,000. What this means is that our community is making a clear statement. We are a region of welcome, a community that believes in upholding the rights and dignity of migrants. While politicians on both sides of the aisle use fear-mongering tactics to undermine the human right to seek asylum, we know that is not reflective of communities. When we feel overwhelmed with the numbers arriving, or the lack of capacity, our answer is not to tell people not to come. Our answer is to call for more support to expand our capacity to welcome, not shut the door,” said Amy Fischer, Americas Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA. “And now, with Mayor Bowser’s announcement requesting the national guard to respond to the asylum seekers, we are once again reminded that militarized responses only further traumatize and cause irreparable harm to people exercising their human right to seek safety, especially for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people.”

 

“The Sidewalk School was born out of necessity and from the hearts of American citizens who witnessed the tragic consequences of Trump’s anti-immigrant administration. We struggled alongside retirees, teachers, veterans, lawyers, religious groups, and advocates from varying walks of life. We collectively stepped out of our comfort as US citizens to travel across to Mexico, to provide aid in a region deemed as, “Do Not Travel to” by the U.S. Department of State. We rallied support from all over the U.S. as well as all over the world. Refugees from all over the world heard of our kindness and work. While others on the right political spectrum were claiming the American Dream was dead, we saw it every day in their eyes,” said Victor Cavazo​​s, Co-Director of the Sidewalk School for Children Asylum Seekers

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign 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

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Advocates Continue Pressure from 115 Groups to End Remain in Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 21, 2022

CONTACT: press@welomewithdignity.org

 

Advocates Continue Pressure from 115 Groups to End Remain in Mexico

“The administration must recognize the humanitarian reality that is at stake and we cannot wait until the midterms for action.”

 

A recording of the press call is available here

 

Washington — Today, representatives from immigrant and refugee rights organizations and service providers spoke to the press to explain why their organizations joined more than 110 other organizations in signing a letter urging the Biden administration to take immediate action to wind down the Remain in Mexico policy. 

 

“While the Biden administration’s efforts to terminate Remain in Mexico may have been constrained by lower court rulings in Texas v. Biden, the Supreme Court’s decision now gives them license to move forward. But since the decision was issued on June 30th, we haven’t heard much from the administration – except that their hands are tied until the Supreme Court sends a certified copy of its judgment to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which must then send it back to the district court. That usually takes about a month, but we have urged the government to expedite this process to the extent possible. In the meantime, the government must begin the critical work necessary to end MPP once and for all—and to redress the harm it has caused,” said Melissa Crow, Director of Litigation at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies.

 

“In a recent visit to shelters in northern Mexico, I spoke with dozens of women in Remain in Mexico who expressed a myriad of concerns about squalid and dangerous conditions in Mexico, their lack of safety, as well as the psychological and physical impact the wait has had on them,” said Savitri Arvey, policy advisor in the Migrant Rights and Justice program at Women’s Refugee Commission. “Given the Supreme Court’s decision, these women are now anxiously awaiting to see what happens next. We urge the Biden administration to take swift action to end Remain in Mexico once and for all, and create a process so all asylum seekers subjected to the policy– like the women I met— can continue their asylum cases from safety.” 

 

“The realities of the Remain in Mexico Program are those of violence and preying upon the most vulnerable among us,” said Marisa Limón Garza, Senior Director for Advocacy and Programming at Hope Border Institute. “This is very much a choice that the Biden Administration must act on today… What I see now by accompanying, by serving, by walking with people impacted by this program–this is a program of family separation, this is a program that impacts vulnerable people directly and it’s a collateral damage that the United States is willing to incur… What I can firmly attest to is that this Administration needs to recognize the humanitarian reality that is at stake, and we cannot wait until after the midterms for action.” 

 

“We should recognize this moment as a first step in the right direction, and not a destination. We will continue to advocate for an asylum system that upholds the inherent dignity of each person who comes to our country in search of safety,” said Esther Sung, Legal Director of Justice Action Center. “While we celebrate a Supreme Court order that allows the Biden administration to remove the moral and legal stain of Remain in Mexico, the next few weeks will be critical in determining whether we can create a system in which all who come here are truly safe.”  

 

The full text of the letter, with six specific steps the administration can take today to uphold its commitment to ending this inhumane policy is available here. A recording of the call is available here.

 

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The Welcome with Dignity Campaign 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

 

#WelcomeWithDignity Denounces Texas Governor’s Dangerous Stunt

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 7, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

#WelcomeWithDignity Denounces Texas Governor’s Dangerous Stunt

 

Washington – Less than two weeks after more than 50 migrants were found dead in a tractor trailer outside of San Antonio, Texas Governor Greg Abbott today signed an executive order falsely declaring an ‘invasion’ and authorizing the Texas National Guard to return people seeking asylum and other migrants to the border at ports of entry. Abbott’s order is an affront to the fundamental human right to seek asylum and puts a target on the back of people perceived to be immigrants in his state. 

Seeking asylum is a legal form of entry under U.S. law and the Governor’s invasion rhetoric is not only patently untrue, but it also feeds into white-supremacist violence that targets Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ people with tragic results like the mass shooting in El Paso. 

 

“Governor Abbott’s latest attempt to take immigration enforcement into his own hands will not stop people from endangering themselves as they seek protection,” said Marisa Limón Garza, senior director for advocacy and programming, Hope Border Institute. “Instead, it will force them into the hands of smugglers. It will not increase safety at the southern border, it will create dangerous conditions for the most vulnerable among us seeking protection. Borderland communities have been welcoming migrants seeking refuge for generations and to treat those seeking aid as an invading force ignores the reality we witness daily. ”

 

“Once again, Greg Abbott has deployed another disgusting stunt to dehumanize immigrants and stoke anti-immigrant fear and hate in order to score political points,” said The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). “Just last week, tragedy struck our community in San Antonio where 53 immigrant lives were lost because of an immigration system that dehumanizes and criminalizes those who seek asylum within our borders. While our community mourned, Gov. Abbott blatantly weaponized this tragedy to push for the codification of Title 42 – which would inevitably put more human lives at risk of danger and death and make tragedies such as these a daily occurence. Abbott’s Executive Order is unlawful, and the Department of Justice needs to intervene by immediately and aggressively investigating Abbott’s Operation Lonestar program, its heinous civil rights violations, and the Governor’s overreach of power.”

 

“This is just the latest stunt by Texas Governor Abbott to scapegoat asylum seekers to advance racist, xenophobic policy,” said Amy Fischer, Americas Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA. “Seeking asylum is a right under both U.S. and international law and it is appalling that the State of Texas is attempting to undermine that right. As we continue to mourn the lives lost in the back of a tractor trailer near San Antonio, the lives lost attempting to arrive to the U.S. by boat, and the countless others who have died trying to cross the border to safety, we know that policies like these cost lives – and more often than not those are Black, Brown, and Indigenous lives. It’s time for the Biden administration to show leadership against Governor Abbott’s racist actions by fully restoring access to asylum at the border. Asylum seekers must have the ability to pursue their claims safely in communities.”

 

“Governor Abbott’s newest executive order is unconstitutional and will harm the people of Texas,” said Priscilla Orta, Supervising Attorney with Lawyers for Good Government’s Project Corazon. “By engaging in racist, harmful invasion rhetoric, which has no basis in reality, the Governor is going against international and domestic law.  Seeking asylum is both a legal and human right – and as we saw last week in San Antonio – something people are willing to die for.  We continue to stand with migrants as they seek safety in our borders, and we also note that this Executive Order is an unconstitutional blank check for the National Guard to discriminate against life-long Texans who simply ‘look’ undocumented. L4GG is dedicated to the freedom of marginalized communities on both sides of the border.”

 

“This is yet another example of Governor Abbott abusing public resources to make a show of his anti-immigrant credentials, similar to his closing of the border and busing of immigrants to D.C.,” said Karen Musalo, Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “Abbott wants to use the National Guard against migrants who pose no threat to us, who are fleeing violence and coming to the United States with the hope that this country will live up to its stated ideals and legal commitments to protect refugees. Abbott’s actions and hateful rhetoric, vilifying migrants as ‘invaders,’  are especially dangerous as they embolden white supremacists and stoke violence, as we have seen from El Paso to Buffalo. Instead of scapegoating immigrants to earn political points, state and local governments should follow the lead of their constituents who stand ready to welcome people seeking asylum with dignity and compassion.”

 

#WelcomeWithDignity’s recommendations to restore asylum are available here.

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign is composed of more than 95  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

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SCOTUS Upholds Termination of MPP/Remain in Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 30, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

SCOTUS UPHOLDS TERMINATION OF MPP

 

Washington — Today, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Biden administration’s rescission of the Remain in Mexico program, formally known as MPP. Under the policy people seeking asylum were denied entry into the United States and were forced to wait in Mexico, often in dangerous areas while waiting for their case to be heard. In tandem with Title 42, Remain in Mexico has meant that our border has been effectively shut down for Black and Brown peop​​le seeking asylum. Today’s decision is one step towards restoring normalcy and dignity at our border. 

 

“While we welcome today’s ruling, we know that this decision alone will not fix our asylum system. Every day, we are faced with an increasingly anti-immigrant, anti-asylum agenda that seeks to systematically eliminate the human and legal right to seek asylum,” said Melina Roche, Campaign Manager of #WelcomeWithDignity. “We saw the direct result of such policies earlier this week in Texas, where 53 people died in an abandoned tractor-trailer because they had no safe way to seek protection in the United States. Black asylum seekers have been disproportionately impacted by Title 42 and Remain in Mexico, and we have seen an unending wave of expulsion flights to Haiti. Now, it is incumbent upon the Biden administration to take aggressive action to immediately end Remain in Mexico. The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign will continue to hold the Biden administration and members of Congress accountable until access to asylum is restored fairly and equitably to all seeking safety.”

 

“The Remain In Mexico program is a human rights nightmare for all involved. Treating asylum seekers with dignity is a moral imperative. The program must not only end, we must ensure it is never revived. It is a deadly program which must be buried in history,” said Margaret Cargioli Directing Attorney of the Cross-Border Initiative at Immigrant Defenders Law Center.

 

“The Court’s decision today is very narrow and technical, and troubling because of the way it detaches issues of discretion as to immigration and foreign policy decisions of the executive branch from deeper scrutiny as to the human rights impact of these policies. The overall struggle as to MPP’s legitimacy will continue meanwhile in lower courts that are very hostile to immigrant rights issues. This and other administrations meanwhile remain free to violate fundamental rights of immigrants, and to end, continue, or revive programs such as “Remain in Mexico” because of our immigration status. The only victory here is of immigrant communities on both sides of the border, and of our defenders. Not of this administration, or any other”, said Camilo Pérez-Bustillo of the leadership team of Witness at the Border

 

“Today’s ruling has cleared the way for the Biden Administration to act, to do what is morally required as guided by both science, and humane policy. It is time to end the Remain in Mexico program and Title 42. As Unitarian Universalists, our faith teaches us to hold sacred the inherent worth and dignity of every human. We are compelled to support the safety and security of persons fleeing violence and repression. Remain in Mexico and Title 42 stands in opposition to this belief and commitment. We call on the Administration to restore fair access to asylum as swiftly as possible. The tragedy this week in Texas underscores the moral failings of our refugee and immigration policy as a nation. We will continue to challenge the anti-immigrant, anti-asylum agenda in Congress and beyond. Our faith demands nothing less,” said Pablo DeJesús, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice.

 

Gladis Molina Alt, Executive Director of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, said“Seeking asylum has always been a legal and human right. Today’s Supreme Court decision, while long overdue, is testament to the power of our communities who took action to shed light on the horrors Remain in Mexico has inflicted on immigrant children, families, and adults. For years, this policy has fueled family separation and put the lives of immigrant communities at risk. Today’s Supreme Court decision means the Biden administration is under no obligation to continue the deadly consequences of Remain in Mexico and has the authority to end this policy now. It is critical that President Biden and his administration fully restore the right to asylum by also ending Title 42 and ensuring egregious policies like these are never revived.”          

 

“The Supreme Court’s decision in favor of Biden terminating MPP is a big win! This case resulted from a Trump appointed judge attempting to extend his administrative policy. This however does not address the issue of MPP being inhumane on the basis of denying asylum to those who seek it. As we move forward, the result must be much needed and awaited immigration reform. In order for the U.S. to remain a beacon of hope, it must treat those who seek asylum and refuge in a humane manner,” said Victor Cavazos, Co-Director of the Sidewalk School.



               

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The Welcome with Dignity Campaign 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