Trump Administration’s Dangerous Policy Forces Asylum Seekers to Remain in Mexico

January 25, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration released a memo Thursday announcing the immediate implementation of the “Migrant Protection Protocols,” a plan to force asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border to remain in Mexico while they pursue a severely backlogged asylum application process. 

The policy, which had been in the works for months, will require many individuals seeking protection in the United States to stay in Mexico for prolonged periods of time as they await an immigration court hearing. With U.S. immigration courts overwhelmingly backlogged, asylum seekers risk spending months or even years in very risky conditions.   

The following statement is from Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council: 

“The Trump administration is creating yet another unnecessary crisis. There is no need to force asylum-seeking families to remain in Mexico. Once released from detention in the United States, the vast majority of these families appear for their immigration court proceedings, particularly when they have an immigration attorney.  

“The administration’s new policy is not only dangerous, but it remains unclear how it will be implemented, where and when immigration hearings will take place, and whether those forced to stay in Mexico will be kept safe.  

“The administration is playing a dangerous and needless game with the lives of asylum seekers.” 

Our experts are available for comment. Our research on asylum and refugee policy and a current lawsuit challenging Customs and Border Protection's practice of turning away asylum seekers at ports of entry can be found on our website,


For more information, contact:

Wendy Feliz at [email protected] or 202-507-7524 

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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