Access to Attorneys Difficult for Those Required to Remain In Mexico
(29 Jul 2019) The record thus far is that very few asylum seekers forced to remain in Mexico under the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP) have been able to secure representation for their upcoming Immigration Court proceedings.

According to the latest court records available, as of the end of June 2019, a total of 1,155 MPP cases had already been decided. Only 14 of these - just 1.2 percent - were represented. There were also 12,997 pending MPP cases on the Immigration Court rolls. Of these, only 163 individuals had found representation thus far - just 1.3 percent.

Without representation, the odds of securing asylum are dismal. Few asylum seekers over the years have been successful in obtaining asylum without an experienced attorney to help them prepare and present their cases.

Representation rates may increase as individuals have more time to look for an attorney. This is certainly true for individuals in regular court cases. In cases that have been waiting up to a month since their notice to appear was issued, court records show that relatively few (6.9%) have an attorney who has registered their appearance in the case. By three months since initiation, however, about a quarter (23.6%) have secured representation, and this has grown to over a third (35.4%) within six months.

While MPP cases that have been waiting longer do have somewhat higher representation rates, they remain far below regular cases initiated at the same time. At as much as three months, only 4.1 percent of MPP cases had found representation as compared with a quarter of regular cases.

Accompanying this report, a new public MPP web query tool allows the public for the first time to drill into these data and follow the growing numbers of individuals required to remain in Mexico.

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