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Asylum Seekers Report Being Victims of Violence While Waiting in Mexico

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People walk back to Tijuana from San Diego at San Ysidro crossing port in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on April 2nd, 2019.

Less than a week after federal asylum officers called for the end of the “Remain in Mexico” policy, a report shows that thousands of asylum seekers—mostly from Central American countries—sent back to Mexico as part of the program face harrowing living conditions and potential violence, including kidnapping and sexual assault. In some instances, families are being separated, with children being held in the custody of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, while the adults are returned to Mexico. 

The findings published by Human Rights Watch on Tuesday contradict previous assurances made by the Trump administration regarding the Mexican government‘s commitments in the deal, including providing access to health care and education. Similarly, under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), as the “Remain in Mexico” plan is formally called, asylum seekers waiting for their court proceedings outside the U.S. should have the ability to apply for work permits and humanitarian visas. Last May, when deciding on a lawsuit challenging the plan, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges referred to these protections when they ruled in favor of allowing the Trump administration to continue enforcing the program pending litigation. 

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Thanks !

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