EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Eighty-three Catholic organizations have sent letters to the presidents of Mexico and the United States urging them to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
The groups, including El Paso’s Hope Border Institute, are also calling on the U.S. to terminate the Title 42 public health rule that fast-tracks deportations of newly arrived migrants.
“It is shocking that the U.S. has decided to move forward with the implementation of MPP and expand it to countries such as Haiti,” says the letter to presidents Biden and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. “The consequences this policy has on the safety, dignity and rights of asylum seekers […] are immense and devastating.”
MPP, or Migrant Protection Protocols, is the Trump-era practice of swiftly sending asylum-seekers from third countries to wait for their U.S. court hearings in Mexico, a wait that extends for months. Migrant advocates say this exposes vulnerable migrants to kidnapping and violence. Faced with a migrant surge of historic proportions, Biden just this week restarted the practice, excluding children and vulnerable populations such as LGBT applicants.
The advocates say these changes aren’t enough.
“We call on the U.S. to end this deadly policy as quickly as possible and to put forth a plan for accountability, including any steps necessary to ensure that MPP, or anything like it, never happens again,” said the groups spearheaded by Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.
They also questioned the logic of keeping in place the Title 42 policy that facilitates the expulsion of most people crossing the border without proper documents.
“The recently announced decision to lift travel restrictions to the United States for vaccinated (foreign) individuals further emphasizes the lack of validation of this (Title 42) policy,” the Catholic advocates say. “Instead of turning asylum seekers away […] the U.S. should offer COVID-19 vaccines […] and allow their asylum cases to proceed.”
You can read the full letter here.