Following last week’s visit of civil rights, human rights, and immigrants rights organizations to Matamoros and Reynosa, Mexico and the Texas Rio Grande Valley, the delegation today jointly released “LIVES AT RISK: Barriers and Harms As Biden Asylum Ban Takes Effect.” The report details the abysmal conditions, grave harms, and barriers to protection suffered by people who are now waiting to seek asylum as the Biden administration begins implementation of its new asylum ban.
The delegation, led by Haitian Bridge Alliance, included leaders and experts from the ACLU, Amnesty International, Amnesty International USA, Human Rights First, NILC, National Immigrant Justice Center, Tahirih Justice Center, UndocuBlack Network, and the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign for asylum rights. Together, the delegation members bore witness to the shocking humanitarian crisis caused by U.S. immigration policies, policies causing unique harm to Black, Brown, and Indigenous people seeking safety.
“At the border, the impact of United States’ politics can be seen clearly,” said Guerline Jozef, Executive Director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance. “At the doorstep to the United States, people fleeing violence and persecution are facing danger and harm as they wait for appointments in a jerry-rigged system and for the U.S. government to meet its obligations to people seeking asylum under federal law and international treaties. The new Biden administration asylum ban will inflict terrible suffering on already extremely vulnerable people, including pregnant women and children. Black and indigenous people will continue to suffer and even be killed as they endure dangerous and inhumane conditions while they wait to seek asylum in the United States of America. We call on the Biden administration to use this as an opportunity to change the tides and move away from these barbaric and cruel policies."
In Matamoros and Reynosa, Mexico the delegation heard accounts of individuals unable to obtain limited CBP One appointments navigating lack of phone and internet access, others trying to seek asylum at ports of entry without a CBP One appointment turned away or prevented, the precarious and inhumane living conditions in encampments at the border, and the life-threatening dangers and anti-Black racism that people seeking asylum endure while waiting in Mexico.
Key findings of the delegation’s report include:
- People seeking asylum continue to be turned away from ports of entry;
- People seeking asylum are struggling to secure limited CBP One appointments;
- Haitian and Black people seeking asylum are targets of anti-Black discrimination and violence;
- Families continue to be separated;
- The Biden administration’s new asylum ban, like Title 42 and Remain in Mexico, is stranding many asylum-seeking people in dangerous places where they are targets of violence and kidnappings;
- Refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants are living in squalid conditions without access to basic services;
- There is a lack of accessible information about the asylum ban; and
- There is a tremendous lack of governmental and international support for asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.
A humane border policy should focus on increased communication, coordination and support for humanitarian aid, shelter and reception at the border and in destination communities, with a focus on local organizations.
The delegation reiterates its call for the Biden administration to uphold the legal right to seek asylum and due process, rescind its new asylum ban, maximize access to asylum at ports of entry, and welcome people with dignity and respect. Many of our organizations have provided detailed recommendations to the Biden administration.