Asylum seekers to the US suffer violence and extortion while waiting in Mexico


Under the Remain in Mexico program, since 2019 Donald Trump sent more than 71,000 asylum seekers to Mexico to await their hearings

The non-governmental and non-profit human rights organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW), revealed the results of an investigation where it detected violence and extortion by the Mexican police, immigration agents, and criminal groups, against the applicants of asylum sent to Mexico by the government of former United States President Donald Trump in January 2019.

In that year, under the Remain in Mexico program, Trump sent more than 71,000 asylum seekers to the Mexican country to await their hearings. In addition, since March 2020, the United States has expelled more than 400,000 migrants, many of them to Mexico, including asylum seekers who were denied the opportunity to make their claims, under travel restrictions purportedly to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.

According to the HRW article, between September and December 2020 they interviewed 71 Venezuelans who were in this situation of mobility, who said they were afraid of reporting crimes and abuses to the Mexican authorities and, frequently, could not obtain the documents they needed to work, get health care, or send their children to school.

Mientras espera a que su caso de asilo se resuelva en un tribunal de inmigración de Estados Unidos, una familia salvadoreña pasa sus días en el refugio para migrantes Buen Pastor en Ciudad Juárez (México), junio de 2019.

In turn, almost half of the asylum seekers under the Remain in Mexico program lost their cases after missing court appointments. Some of the families who did not attend court appointments told HRW that this was because they were kidnapped in Mexico and others because they were bussed south by the Mexican government, leaving them thousands of miles from their hearing locations.

After information collected by different authorities, organizations, migrants, and documents; Human Rights Watch has consistently found that migrants in Mexico are exposed to rape, kidnapping, extortion, assault, and psychological trauma.

Even almost half of those interviewed said that the Mexican police, immigration agents, or criminal groups attacked them for extortion. Still, others claimed that Mexican police or immigration agents pulled them off buses or from the line at the airport and threatened to deport them if they did not pay a bribe. Some said officers detained them and threatened to kill them or hand them over to the cartels if they did not pay.

Sin rumbo migratorio en México: embudo en la frontera norte | México en DW  | DW | 28.12.2019

In turn, 27 of these migrants indicated that criminal groups had intercepted them at border crossings, bus stations, hotels, or elsewhere in border cities.

They also commented that the abusers already had their photos or identified them from the crowd. Many victims said they noticed strangers looking at them or taking photos of them before or after the crime.

Despite this, with the arrival of the current president of the United States, Joe Biden, on February 19, the asylum application receptions for those who had been returned to Mexico due to the Remain in Mexico decree, also called the Protocol of Migrant Protection (MPP).

However, this year only the cases of 25 thousand migrants will be attended to.


Baja California Post