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Contact NIJC Communications Director Tara Tidwell Cullen at (312) 833-2967 or by email.

Biden Administration Must End Deterrence Policies that Block Access to Asylum and Trap Migrants in Dangerous Conditions

CHICAGO (March 29, 2023) – The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) mourns the 38 people who lost their lives and the many others who suffered injury and trauma in the fire at the immigration detention center in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Many of the victims were Indigenous people, whose communities have increasingly been subject to persecution and who are disparately harmed by policies blocking access to asylum.

NIJC Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy responded with the following statement:

“Our hearts are heavy for the people and their loved ones affected by the detention center fire in Mexico. This horrific loss of life is a result of policies that block people from asylum and protection, force people into dangerous situations, and lock people up instead of providing pathways for people to seek safety.

“The Biden administration’s efforts to block people from access to protection in the United States have trapped individuals and families in desperate situations, including Mexican detention centers that are notorious for inhumane conditions. We can only hope that this week’s tragedy in Ciudad Juarez serves as a wake-up call to the administration and members of Congress that deterrence policies are dangerous and deadly. How many more lives will be lost before the U.S. government lives up to its obligation, under international and domestic law, to ensure that people forced to flee their homelands have an opportunity to be welcomed and seek protection in the United States? The U.S. government has the ability and the resources to implement humane solutions that uphold our values.”