The Trump administration is using the COVID-19 crisis to deepen its relentless assault on asylum seekers and the right to seek asylum.
Last week US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reportedly began immediately “expelling” to Mexico all unauthorized migrants at the US-Mexico border – including unaccompanied children – without considering whether they qualify for protection under US asylum law. The new policy purports to be based on an order by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the centers’ order was based on insufficient and incorrect information provided by the Department of Homeland Security.
Among the assaults on asylum seekers’ rights that pre-date COVID-19, the Migrant Protection Protocols, known as the “Remain in Mexico” program, require asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their asylum claims are heard in US immigration court. Those hearings are now postponed due to the pandemic, and these asylum seekers are waiting indefinitely for their day in court in crowded and unsanitary camps and shelters where they are vulnerable to the virus.
Read the full story here.