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Statement on "Remain in Mexico" Plan

Silver Spring, Md. -- This week the Trump Administration began to put the “Remain in Mexico” agreement into effect at the San Ysidro, Calif., border checkpoint. Over the last several days, multiple asylum seekers have been returned to Mexico, in what is among the most devastating changes yet to U.S. asylum policy under this administration.

Under this policy, Central Americans fleeing violence and persecution who have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border to claim asylum will be returned to Mexico pending their hearing before a U.S. immigration judge. The administration has announced that it plans to expand this policy to other checkpoints along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In response to the administration’s plan, Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ Senior Vice President for Public Affairs, said, “This is unprecedented in recent U.S. history. This policy will illegally keep people from exercising their fundamental right to seek asylum in the U.S. and presents serious humanitarian and safety concerns.”

In September, HIAS staff met with humanitarian workers in Mexico who said that the influx of Central American asylum seekers was leaving them under-resourced and overwhelmed. Said Nezer, “This plan will increase the number of people seeking services in Mexico, placing further strain on their humanitarian infrastructure, and leaving asylum seekers without access to the safe housing and other support they need.”

“Remain in Mexico” makes it nearly impossible for asylum seekers to access the protections they are entitled to under both U.S. and international law and undermines our country’s long history as a leader in refugee protection.

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