August 29, 2019

Wyden, Colleagues Demand Trump Administration End Remain in Mexico Policy

“Not only does this policy do nothing to protect either migrants or U.S. interests, we have grave concerns about its legality, recent efforts to expand it, and the dangerous conditions it forces asylum seekers to endure while waiting for their cases to be heard”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., this week joined Senator Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and 22 of their Democratic Senate colleagues in calling on the Trump administration to stop restricting access to the U.S. asylum system and end its Remain in Mexico policy. The deceptively named Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) policy blocks legal asylum seekers from being in the United States while they await court hearings in their cases, forcing them to wait in dangerous cities in Mexico for extended periods of time.

Wyden saw firsthand the dangerous and damaging effects of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy when he led a group of Oregon advocates and experts on a trip to the border. The group visited Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and met families directly impacted the MPP policy, as well as the Trump administration’s “metering” policy.

In a letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, Wyden and his Senate colleagues raise serious concerns about the Remain in Mexico policy, its impact on U.S. national interests, its legality and its expansion, which will place thousands more asylum seekers at great risk by the end of August.

“Under the Remain in Mexico policy, the United States has turned its back on its domestic and international legal obligations by forcing men, women, and children to await resolution of their U.S. asylum cases in parts of Mexico plagued by violence,” wrote the senators. “Moreover, the Remain in Mexico policy further damages our status as a global leader in protecting refugees and undercuts our ability to ask other countries to cooperate on migration issues. This policy also has implications for U.S. national security, as it risks fueling instability in Mexican border cities unable to handle the increased number of asylum seekers.”

Citing some of the growing dangers migrants are exposed to by the Remain in Mexico policy, including reported kidnappings, extortion, trafficking, rape and murder, the senators called on the Trump administration to immediately end the MPP and allow asylum seekers to safely wait in the United States while their court cases are adjudicated. 

Joining Wyden and Menendez in sending the letter were Senators Ben Cardin, D-Md., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Chris Coons, D-Del., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Angus King, I-Maine, Ed Markey, D-Mass., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

A copy of the letter can be found here.