Harmful circumstances persist as migrants anticipate Biden administration to cease ‘Stay in Mexico’ program

Regardless of the Biden administration lately receiving approval from the Supreme Courtroom to finish the Trump-era “Stay in Mexico” coverage, 1000’s of asylum-seekers stay caught in harmful circumstances in Mexico, advocates and migrants mentioned.

Some migrants mentioned they’re ready in fixed concern and deplorable environment, typically in crowded shelters in cities the place there have been quite a few experiences of violence and threats, similar to kidnapping, extortion and sexual assault.

“We stay with this day by day concern of leaving the shelter that one thing will occur to us,” mentioned a 27-year-old fleeing political retribution in Venezuela. Among the many fears, he mentioned: “Being killed within the streets.”

Migrants discuss in entrance of transportable bathrooms in a camp in Tijuana, Mexico, on Nov. 8.Gregory Bull / AP file

The Venezuelan migrant, who requested that his identify not be used due to concern for his security, mentioned he has been threatened by one other migrant within the shelter within the harmful Mexican border metropolis of Juárez, the place he has been compelled to attend for about six months. The person informed him that if he noticed him go away the shelter, he would ship folks to search out him. He has left the shelter solely when escorted by employees to go to work.

“I wouldn’t want this on anybody,” he mentioned.

Stay in Mexico, formally referred to as the Migrant Safety Protocols, required folks in search of asylum on the southern border, primarily from Central America, to attend in Mexico whereas their claims have been determined.

From late January 2019 till Biden suspended this system in 2021, about 70,000 folks have been despatched again to Mexico. Tent cities sprang up close to border entry stations on the Mexican facet of the border. Human rights teams mentioned lots of of asylum-seekers have been kidnapped, raped, tortured or assaulted.  

Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has mentioned the coverage “has endemic flaws and causes unjustifiable human tragedy.”

The Biden administration repeatedly tried to finish this system, however restarted it once more after being rebuffed in court docket following challenges from Missouri and Texas, which argued that after Biden ended the coverage, the variety of migrants attempting to enter the nation skyrocketed.

On June 30, the Supreme Courtroom dominated that Biden might shut down this system.

However the Biden administration earlier this month mentioned it wanted to attend “a number of weeks” to have the ability to finish this system so the Supreme Courtroom choice could be communicated to the decrease courts, ABC Information reported

The Division of Homeland Safety didn’t instantly reply to request for remark.

The gradual tempo leaves migrants who’re nonetheless in Mexico susceptible, mentioned Taylor Levy, an immigration legal professional who has represented asylum-seekers within the Stay in Mexico program.

“Our perspective shouldn’t be in the event that they’re going to be victimized when they’re in Mexico, however when,” Levy mentioned. “We’re continuously fielding calls about horrific issues.”

She mentioned she hoped the Biden administration would do “every thing in its energy to implement this choice as shortly as potential.”

A 38-year-old man who fled political violence in Nicaragua mentioned he fears being kicked out of the Juárez shelter he has referred to as dwelling for months, regardless of its crowded circumstances. The person, who mentioned he hears gunshots outdoors the constructing day-after-day, requested that his actual identify not be used due to concern for his security and potential retribution. He mentioned he is aware of fellow migrants who’ve been kidnapped and extorted for cash as they waited for an opportunity to say asylum in america.

On the way in which to the U.S. border, the person mentioned he and greater than 100 different migrants have been left to “suffocate” in a big container and deserted by the coyotes smuggling them.

“We had no air. Youngsters have been crying, ladies have been fainting. Everybody started to scream. We thought they have been going to allow us to out,” he mentioned. They ultimately escaped, however many have been injured and a pregnant younger lady and one other migrant died, he mentioned.

The shelter in Mexico has additionally introduced dire circumstances, he mentioned.

“There’s a lot extra hazard right here,” he mentioned.

Marysol Castro, an immigration legal professional with the Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Companies in El Paso, Texas, has represented migrants within the “Stay in Mexico” program because it was applied by the Trump administration in 2019. 

“The tales from my purchasers, I imply, they’re being raped, they’re being kidnapped, they’re being robbed, they’re being threatened, extorted,” mentioned Castro, who additionally represents the Venezuelan man.

Castro mentioned she additionally represented a Cuban lady who was harassed and raped by a Mexican police officer – and wanted surgical procedure following the assault – after being compelled to attend in Mexico beneath this system in 2019. 

She mentioned the lady fled Cuba solely to stay “the worst second of her life” in Juárez “when she was truly going to search for security.”

Following the Supreme Courtroom ruling to finish this system, Castro mentioned she has informed her purchasers that whereas the choice is nice information, she doesn’t know precisely how issues will play out.

“However we do ultimately need to determine how we’re going to get them over,” she mentioned.

Again within the shelter in Juárez, the person from Venezuela mentioned the migrants have been villainized each within the U.S. and in Mexico. 

“We’re not dangerous folks. All we would like is one probability,” he mentioned.