The Trump administration’s inhumane and illegal policy forcing asylum seekers to return to Mexico to wait out their cases will undoubtedly cost lives. Just weeks ago—and just days before the U.S. announced the “Migration Protection Protocols” policy—two Honduras teens who were a part of the so-called migrant caravan were murdered in Tijuana. Now, a coalition of leading groups is suing.
“This new policy severely undermines the very purpose of our asylum system,” said Blaine Bookey, of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, “endangering rather than safeguarding the lives of our individual plaintiffs and others fleeing persecution.” The group, along with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of 11 asylum seekers who have been forced into Mexico.
One plaintiff, a Honduran man identified as “Ian Doe” for his own safety, is a former police officer who worked undercover to stop drug trafficking. But when his identity was revealed, he fled for his life. Mistaking him for Ian, drug traffickers then killed his brother. Now, after being forcibly removed to Tijuana by the Trump administration, Ian continues to fear for his life.
This comes as the administration has illegally blocked asylum seekers at U.S. ports of entry in a process called “metering,” where agents allow as few as 20 people a day to exercise their right to ask for asylum at the border. Thousands of others are then left to wait weeks, sometimes months for their turn. The only crisis at the border is the treatment of families by our government.
The fact is that the administration’s “Migration Protection Protocol” is anything but protection. It’s a logistical nightmare
that will put already vulnerable people in further danger. “This is no longer just a war on asylum seekers, it’s a war on our system of laws,” said Melissa Crow, an attorney in Innovation Law Lab v. Nielsen. “This misguided policy deprives vulnerable individuals of humanitarian protections that have been on the books for decades and puts their lives in jeopardy.”