The Save Asylum coalition has worked with asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border to organize regular public actions to call for the restoration of the asylum process. Today’s action will focus on a plea to the Biden-Harris Elect Administration to take immediate action to restore asylum after taking office.
The Trump Administration has worked to systematically limit access to asylum at the border. When Customs and Border Protection (CBP) implemented metering in May 2018 at the ports of entry in Nogales, migrants were abruptly faced with weeks and later months-long waits before being able to formally begin their asylum process in the U.S. This dynamic was exacerbated with the subsequent implementation of Migration Protection Protocol (MPP), otherwise known as “Remain in Mexico,” forcing asylum seekers to wait months or years in Mexico for their U.S. asylum hearings. These policies have obligated many of the migrants passing through Nogales to live in unsustainable uncertainty. Now the Administration has used the global pandemic as a pretext to fully suspend asylum processing, denying migrants fleeing persecution their right to refuge and due process in the United States.
Dozens of asylum seekers currently in Nogales, Sonora have been waiting since December to begin the process of seeking protection in the US. The hundreds of asylum seekers returned to Nogales under ‘Remain in Mexico’ have had their very first court dates rescheduled from March or April 2020 to October 2020, with no guarantee that court will even be open by that date. Yet CBP continues to place newly arriving Cubans and Venezuelans under ‘Remain in Mexico’ and returning them to prolonged limbo in Nogales, Sonora, even as they subject asylum seekers from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to expulsions with no consideration of their claims for protection.