For Immediate Release

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Immigrant Advocates Criticize New "Waiting" Policy In Mexico For Asylum Seekers

New York, NY - Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security announced a new policy with the Mexican government that will force asylum seekers who enter the United States at the U.S. Southern Border to stay in Mexico and wait while their claims are processed, possibly for months or years.

Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition issued the following statement:

“Rather than actually dealing with the fallout from a crisis of his own making, Trump is abdicating our country's humanitarian responsibility and dumping the burden onto Mexico. This is another part of the Trump administration's systematic, deliberate effort to undermine the safety of thousands of asylum seekers and dismantle our refugee system.”

Yesterday, a U.S. federal judge struck down Jeff Sessions’s previous policies that made it harder for those fleeing domestic and gang violence to obtain asylum.

Background

On October 25, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was considering taking administrative action to undermine the country’s asylum laws in order to prevent entry of Central American migrants seeking protection. The president would use his authority under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the same authority invoked for the Muslim ban) to declare certain migrants ineligible for asylum because it “would be contrary to the national interest” and “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

Additionally, the President ordered the Secretary of Defense to send an additional 800-1000 active duty military member to the southern border to assist in border operations. By law, members of the military are not allowed to engage in domestic law enforcement, including apprehension or detention of migrants, and so have been ordered to play a “support” role. The latest reports indicate the president has now increased that number to 5,200 troops.

On November 9th, President Trump signed a proclamation denying migrants from claiming asylum between ports of entry at the United States Southern border. The day before, DHS Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen and Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker announced an interim final rule, setting the stage for these restrictions to take immediate effect.

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The New York Immigration Coalition aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all.  The NYIC promotes immigrants’ full civic participation, fosters their leadership, and provides a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.

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