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Can Mexico Qualify as a Safe Third Country?

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President Donald Trump takes part in the Third Annual Made in America Product Showcase on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, D.C., on July 15th, 2019.

In May of 1994, Susan Gzesh, then a longtime lawyer and part-time lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, traveled to Mexico to look at the country’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. This was shortly before the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and cross-border migration was under debate. It also had not been that long since the United States had started to rely on Mexico to address the unprecedented influx of Central Americans fleeing civil wars in countries like Guatemala and El Salvador, leading to thousands of deportations. The U.S. “came to look upon Mexico as a land bridge for the rest of Latin America that might serve either as a gateway for unwanted migratory flows or as a buffer zone that would keep such flows from ever reaching U.S. borders,” Gzesh wrote in her report.

In Mexico, Gzesh found a network of advocacy groups, lawyers, and academics working on issues related to the human rights of migrants leaving or passing through Mexico. She also found a series of systemic flaws and shortcuts in the Mexican authorities’ reception of asylum seekers and refugees, including failure to communicate to migrants their right to apply for protection and a lack of “rational” standards in the processing of applications, which the report describes as “arbitrary and capricious.” Ultimately, Gzesh concluded that Mexico could not be considered a safe third country for the purposes of a two-party agreement to return migrants safely under the standards of the U.S. asylum regulations

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Thanks !

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