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Human Rights Watch
November 19, 2019

Written Testimony: “Examining the Human Rights and Legal Implications of DHS’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy”

Despite these risks, the program’s nonrefoulement” screening process administered by US Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum officers to determine whether a migrant faces harm in Mexico has come under criticism from US officials involved in administering interviews or who have reviewed the process. According to Buzzfeed News, a team of senior Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) officials who examined the Remain in Mexico program found that asylum officers face pressure in at least some locations along the border to “arrive at negative outcomes when interviewing migrants on their claim of fear of persecution or torture.” Meanwhile, asylum seekers forced to remain in Mexico have no meaningful due process. Immigration attorneys and advocates in the United States indicate the need for legal services for returned asylum seekers in Mexico is overwhelming and that attorneys working to provide low-cost or free representation face serious barriers to providing that representation, including returned asylum seekers’ lack of fixed addresses and telephone numbers. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, a research center that examined US immigration court records through September 2019, only two percent of returnees have legal representation.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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