Temporary Suspension of In-Person Document Services is Not Enough Protection for Asylum Seekers

Source: Fronteras

Asylum seekers waiting in Mexico for their court hearings under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), aka “Remain in Mexico” program, will no longer have to present themselves at ports of entry for their delayed hearings.

Since March, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has required asylum seekers under the Remain in Mexico program to come to U.S. ports of entry on their scheduled asylum hearing date in order to receive new hearing notices. On Sunday, DHS announced that it would suspend all in-person document services until June 19, which includes this previous requirement.

Although this suspension does alleviate some concerns of asylum-seekers, it does not address any of the other issues with the program. Remain in Mexico makes it difficult for the U.S. to get in touch with asylum seekers awaiting their hearing in Mexico, causing them to miss important announcements and details of their immigration cases. Alex Miller, managing attorney on the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project’s border action team, said that these extended waits in Mexico put asylum seekers at risk of violence, extortion, crime, and exposure to the coronavirus.

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