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March 18, 2021

The People We Left Behind: How Closing A Dangerous Border Camp Adds To Inequities
By Lomi Kriel

Many migrants still waiting to enter the U.S. arrived at the border shortly after Trump’s MPP policy began in early 2019. Many of their cases were denied in tent courts that were not open to the public. Advocates denounced the legal proceedings, which included mass hearings through video conferencing with poor translation, according to lawyers. Ariana Sawyer, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, likened the hearings to “kangaroo courts.” She said many migrants’ claims were not properly adjudicated. Of the more than 71,000 migrants returned to Mexico under the MPP program, less than 8% had legal representation. The U.S. government does not provide attorneys to immigrants in such civil deportation proceedings. Many waited across the border in dangerous conditions. More than 1,500 were killed, kidnapped or assaulted in Mexico while waiting for their court dates, according to tallies by Human Rights First and other international groups. After the program was implemented, judges granted asylum or other forms of U.S. protection to only about 650 migrants in the MPP program, according to federal data analyzed by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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