FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 2022
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