We affirm President Biden’s Executive Order announced on Tuesday, February 2nd that pledges to create a humane asylum system and address root causes of migration. In doing so, we call on the current administration to adopt a framework rooted in the recognition of the rights and dignity of migrants and asylum seekers instead of following suit with over-militarization. Additionally, we lift up President Biden’s commitment to create a task force to reunify parents and children who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
We condemn that the Biden Administration has merely committed to “investigating” the Trump era anti-asylum policies, such as the Migrant Protection Protocols and Title 42.
We, alongside humanitarian and human rights organizations, have condemned the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) since their implementation along the U.S.-Mexico border in January of 2019, which took effect in Nogales in January 2020. The policy’s name belies the fact that, up until the program’s suspension beginning January 21st, 2021, the U.S. was knowingly returning asylum seekers to harm in Mexico. While we affirm President Biden’s suspension of new MPP enrollments on his first day in office, we lament that there are still hundreds of asylum seekers in Nogales who continue to face danger each day. MPP has fueled the networks of violence that feed off of migrants’ desperation in Mexican border cities. A recent report indicated more than 1,300 cases of violent attacks on asylum seekers and migrants returned to Mexico under the policy. Since January of 2020, we have received hundreds of Venezuelans, Cubans, and Central Americans returned under MPP who have shared with us their fear of imminent violence and especially the toll it has taken on their children. For one asylum seeker from Honduras, she says that MPP put her and her daughter in “reach of their predators.”
We are particularly concerned that there was no commitment nor timeline for ending Title 42 in today’s Executive Orders. Since March of 2020, the U.S. has been invoking Title 42 under the pretext of protecting public health. However public health experts and epidemiologists issued a recent statement that asylum seekers are not a threat to public health, calling on the Biden administration to “end this abuse of public health authority [and] ensure public health decisions are made by public health officials without pressure to advance migration policy or other political objectives.”
President Biden’s Executive Orders provide no sense of urgency nor guarantee to end the anti-asylum policies that he has labeled as inhumane since his campaign. Keeping these Trump-era anti asylum policies in place only prolongs and exacerbates the humanitarian crisis that already exists along the U.S.-Mexico border.
PRESS BRIEFING WITH PANEL OF ASYLUM SEEKERS
NOGALES, SONORA. On Wednesday, February 3rd, at 12:00 pm Mountain/Arizona time, asylum seekers who have been subjected to Migrant Protection Protocols and Title 42, will host a press briefing to respond to President Biden’s Executive Orders related to the U.S.-Mexico border.
What – Press Briefing with Migrant Panel to respond to President Biden’s Executive Orders that impact the U.S.-Mexico border
When – Wednesday, February 3rd, 12:00 am Mountain/Arizona Time
Where – Watch live HERE or on the Kino Border Initiative Facebook page
Media availability following the livestream:
- Asylum seeker panelists and Sara Ritchie, Director of Communications at the Kino Border Initiative: (540) 421-4563
- Joanna Williams, Director of Education and Advocacy at the Kino Border Initiative: +1 (303) 521-2159
- Tracey Horan, Associate Director of Education and Advocacy at the Kino Border Initiative: +1 (317) 450-8142