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The Advocates Signs on to Letter Condemning the Remain in Mexico Program

Date: October 20, 2021
Document: WelcomeWithDignity-Legal-Services-Providers-Joint-Letter-on-MPP_10.19.2021.pdf
Country: United States of America
Type: Post
Issues: Asylum , Human Rights Defenders , Migrant Rights

The Advocates for Human Rights, alongside 73 legal services providers, has sent a letter to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Mayorkas, and Attorney General Garland responding to the Biden administration's decision to restart the Remain in Mexico program. You can view the letter online here.


Re: Legal Service Providers Refuse to Be Complicit in the Biden Administration's Restart of the Remain in Mexico Policy (Migrant Protection Protocols)


Dear President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Mayorkas, and Attorney General Garland:

The undersigned 73 legal services providers, law school clinics, and law firms, write to decry the Biden administration's decision to restart the Remain in Mexico program (formally termed the Migrant Protection Protocols or "MPP") and make clear, there is no way to make this program safe, humane, or lawful. No measure of involvement from civil societies will mitigate the harms of this horrific, racist, and unlawful program. Nor is it just for this administration to continue to force U.S. lawyers and humanitarian staff to risk their safety due to the failure of this administration to take swift action to uphold U.S. refugee laws and treaties. We refuse to be complicit in a program that facilitates the rape, torture, death, and family separations of people seeking protection by committing to provide legal services.

Representing people returned under MPP or expelled to Mexico under the illegal Title 42 policy has also endangered attorneys and humanitarian groups, including staff of some of the under signed organizations. In fact, during the two years it was operated under the Trump administration, U.S. based attorneys were threatened with kidnapping and violence in connection with their representation of people in MPP. Conditions have worsened since the program was first started, rendering it far more dangerous for both the individuals and families attempting to seek protection, as well as any who would seek to help them. Since the Biden administration took office, there have been another 6,356 reports of kidnapping, rape, torture, and other attacks against migrants blocked at ports of entry or expelled to Mexico by the U.S. government.

Extensive territorial control by cartels and complicity by Mexican government agents in violent attacks and kidnappings against vulnerable asylum seekers and migrants makes clear that the U.S. government cannot re-implement MPP without subjecting vulnerable individuals to pervasive violence.

We urge the administration to do everything in its power to prevent a return to MPP.

1. Immediately issue a new memorandum that provides a more detailed explanation for the decision to terminate MPP and that resolves any Administrative Procedure Act issues identified by the district court.

2. Immediately inform the Government of Mexico that the United States cannot guarantee increased access to counsel under a reinstated MPP, nor can the United States guarantee that court hearings will generally conclude within 6 months. DHS must not represent to Mexico that nonprofit legal service providers will increase access to counsel under a reinstated MPP.

3. Preserve the MPP wind down and continue processing individuals previously subjected to MPP into the U.S.

4. Take immediate steps to end the cruel and unlawful Title 42 expulsions and immediately restore access to asylum at the border, including at ports of entry.


We stand ready to offer legal services to asylum seekers, were your administration to follow U.S. and international law. But there is no protection in the Migrant Protection Protocols.

Sincerely,

Al Otro Lado

Alonso & de Leef, PLLC

Americans for Immigrant Justice

Angry Tias and Abuelas of the RGV

Asylum Access

Asylum Access México (AAMX), A.C.

Border Angels

Border Kindness

Border Organizing Project

Bridges Faith Initiative

CA Collaborative for Immigrant Justice

Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition

Casa del Migrante en Tijuana, A.C.

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

Church World Service

Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC Law)

Columbia Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic

Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc.

Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project

Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Government Accountability Project

Haitian Bridge Alliance

Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

HIAS

Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative

Human Rights First

Human Rights Initiative of North Texas

Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Immigration Equality

Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración (IMUMI)

International Mayan League

International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)

International Rescue Committee

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

Jewish Family Service of San Diego

Justice for Our Neighbors El Paso

La Raza Community Resource Center

Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center

Law Office of Alexandra Bachan

Law Office of Amy Maldonado

Law Office of Elket Rodriguez

Legal Aid Justice Center

Mariposa Legal

Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project

Migrant Center for Human Rights

Miles Immigration Law

Mississippi Center for Justice

National Immigrant Justice Center

National Immigration Project (NIPNLG)

NETWORK Lobby For Catholic Social Justice

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

Oasis Legal Services

Pangea Legal Services

Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC)

Project Corazon-Lawyer's for Good Government

Project Lifeline

Proyecto de Ayuda para Solicitantes de Asilo (PASA)

Public Counsel

RAICES

Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, UC Hastings

Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network

Santanna Law Offices

Tahirih Justice Center

Taylor Levy Law

Team Brownsville

Texas Civil Rights Project

The Advocates for Human Rights

The Sidewalk School

Transgender Law Center

UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic

UCLA Immigrant Family Legal Clinic

University of Texas School of Law Immigration Clinic

VECINA