The Trump administration’s announcement that it will eliminate all access to asylum for people arriving at the southern border by immediately returning them to Mexico without any legal process puts many people at risk.
As a people of faith, it is our collective responsibility to promote and protect all people’s safety and health—including asylum seekers and migrants—in these unprecedented times. Ceasing access to asylum for those arriving at ports of entry and sending all migrants quickly back to Mexico—whose officials were not informed of the plan—does not honor the interests of public health, border security, or international obligations. This analysis is grounded in the experience of our partners at the Kino Border Initiative who released a statement on the Trump Administration’s policy changes at the U.S.-Mexico border for asylum seekers and migrants.
As our partners at the Jesuit Migration Network throughout the region have shared, migrants and asylum-seekers subject to this policy are coming from places where rates of infection from the virus are far lower than they are in the United States; they are placing themselves in greater danger by attempting to migrate. This speaks to the gravity of the situations they are fleeing.
We must continue to act with decency at this time and expand on our obligation to respect human rights and due process. The administration’s plan effectively eliminates asylum and due process. It leaves thousands of people in legal and humanitarian limbo in Mexico and disregards how this will affect communities south of the border. Above all, it will not make our interconnected communities safer from the virus.
Join the Ignatian Solidarity Network and our partners at the Kino Border Initiative on the U.S.-Mexico border in calling on members of Congress to take action for the health and safety of all.