African Human Rights Coalition condemns the Trump new Migration Protection Protocols (MPP) announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this morning. Under this new policy, asylum seekers arriving at the United States’ southern border will be forced to wait in Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings. This move is yet another illegal attempt by the Trump Administration to rewrite our nation’s immigration laws in order to advance an inhumane, anti-refugee agenda. While this policy is harsh for all migrants, refugees who are asylum seekers we refer particularly here to LGBTQ asylum seekers.
Melanie Nathan, Executive Director of the African Human Rights Coalition:
This new MPP means that asylum seekers will be forced to spend up to years in Mexico awaiting their immigration court dates. Mexico is not a safe country for migrants and refugees, and least of all LGBTQI asylum seekers. This is a paralyzing policy that serves ultimately to deny LGBTQ people asylum before they have exercised their right to seek it.
When I look in particular at the African LGBTQ people, notwithstanding all asylum seekers, who have arrived at the Southern Border and have sought asylum, and the extent of the work involved in providing legal assistance, and safety, I am struck by how ill-informed and cruel this new policy is. I cannot imagine how this most marginalized group of people will be able to succeed in their asylum applications under these harsh constraints, all the while trying to stay safe in climate which is often hostile to LGBTQ people. LGBTQ Africans are a small desperate group who have gone through a life endangering journey, with few to no options, to reach the Southern border. LGBTQ asylum seekers are escaping untenable violence in their own countries. Some have undergone year long journeys to make it to that border.
We are supposed to hear asylum claims – even if it means detaining the asylum seeker until they receive parole, asylum or deportation, depending on the success of the case. We provide pro bono attorneys and experts to assist in these cases and we have many willing such volunteers who understand the stakes. How will these asylum seekers get by if stuck in Mexico pending their cases? How will they receive crucial resources? They are not Spanish speaking and the Mexican government, organizations and volunteers are not equipped to provide the assistance that we can on this side of the border. am thoroughly disgusted in this Government persistently doing all it can to thwart its international obligations in this arena. We once stood so proudly as a nation with a human rights record that welcome the persecuted.
nathan@africanHRC.org Picture: Melanie Nathan/ African HRC.