Washington, D.C.— Church World Service celebrates the vacating of a recent injunction* that sought to prolong the “Remain in Mexico” or Migrant Protection Protocols, an inhumane and immoral policy that caused untold harm for individuals and families seeking protection. The Trump-era policy forced asylum seekers fleeing persecution back to danger by requiring them to return to Mexico while awaiting their cases in U.S. courts. This decision provides a clear path for the Biden administration to end the harmful policy once and for all.
“Vacating this injunction is an affirmation of what American immigration policy can be, if our leaders choose to protect the legal right to seek asylum and uphold the dignity of our neighbors.” said Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy at CWS. “Remain in Mexico was an illegal undermining of our asylum system. The policy cruelly dismissed the rights of those seeking safety, and placed individuals and families back in harm’s way. We hope the injunction will result in a decision to end the policy and pursue a just and humane immigration system.”
Over the last several years, Remain in Mexico led to violence against, sexual assault of, kidnappings of, and murders of thousands of men, women, and children seeking their legal right to pursue safety in the United States. All told, the cruel Trump-era program, which largely remained in place during the Biden administration, impacted thousands of lives and separated loved ones only seeking to build lives peacefully as part of American communities.
Under “Remain in Mexico,” tens of thousands asylum seekers were turned away, many of whom experienced further violence, either from the very danger they initially fled or from new threats along the border. The policy, alongside the continuation of Title 42 expulsions—which contributes to the rising death toll at the border, as more than 1,000 people have died since Biden took office and more than 10,000 documented incidents of people expelled to Mexico under Title 42 include violent attacks, kidnapping, and rape—illustrates that the U.S. is confronting a profound moment that requires restoring asylum protections for all.
CWS notes that the act of seeking asylum is a legal right under U.S. and international laws, and by continuing to allow policies that impede that right, or punish those who seek it, we are undermining the dignity of our neighbors and the values our country claims to uphold. In an attempt to address the harm inflicted throughout the current immigration system, CWS encourages the Biden administration and Congress to fully restore asylum protections and welcome the lives of those fleeing violence and persecution.
*Upon vacation of the previous injunction, the State of Texas filed a challenge to the ruling. CWS will continue to fight for the elimination of this cruel and inhumane policy and maintains that the District Court’s decision is now the law of the land
For more information, or to speak with Owen, contact firstname.lastname@example.org