House Democrats announced on Tuesday that they have opened an investigation into inhumane and illegal Trump administration policy that has forced as many as 60,000 asylum-seekers to wait out their cases in Mexico, saying that they believe it “is a dangerously flawed policy that threatens the health and safety of legitimate asylum seekers—including women, children, and families—and should be abandoned.”
In a letter to acting Department of Homeland Security Sec. Chad Wolf, leaders and members of the House Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship said the Migrant Protection Protocols policy, or Remain in Mexico, is “exposing thousands of people to threats of murder, sexual violence, and kidnapping as they are forced to wait in extremely dangerous conditions before their asylum claims may be heard.”
The legislators, including House Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler, Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship chair Zoe Lofgren, and Subcommittee members Pramila Jayapal, Veronica Escobar, Sylvia Garcia, Joe Neguse, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and Lou Correa, noted that U.S. officials are returning vulnerable asylum-seekers, including their children, to dangerous areas of Mexico that U.S. officials tell Americans to avoid.
“MPP forces women, children, and families to remain in areas that the federal government recognizes as especially unsafe,” they wrote. “As of today, there are 31 active travel advisories for Mexico, including 5 warnings in which the State Department explicitly advises Americans against travel. It is difficult to understand why this administration is sending children and families to areas where they will face certain harm.”
“Migrant Protection Protocols” has always been a misleading name for a policy that has nothing to do with protection and everything to do with blocking these families from a fair shot at asylum. Last December, Human Rights First released a report finding an increase in violence against asylum-seekers returned to Mexico, including sexual violence and kidnapping. Nearly 140 of those kidnappings or attempted kidnappings horrifically targeted children.