/ACLU files complaint demanding end to U.S. border officials turning away Mexican asylum-seekers

ACLU files complaint demanding end to U.S. border officials turning away Mexican asylum-seekers

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28:  Protesters that marched from Freedom Plaza to the U.S. Capitol demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office Buildking against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march, with numerous arrests taking place during the sit-in at the Senate office building.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A top civil rights organization has filed a complaint with a government watchdog demanding an end to Customs and Border Protection blocking the rights of asylum-seekers at official U.S. ports of entry, saying that U.S. officials are “systematically violating U.S. and international law by turning Mexican nationals back into the very country and dangers from which they have attempted to flee.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the ACLU Border Rights Center tell the Homeland Security inspector general that a large number of Mexican asylum-seekers have been turned away by U.S. officials, many based on outright lies, like telling families that facilities are full, while in other cases, “CBP officers have, for example, told Mexican asylum seekers that there is no more asylum in the United States,” the groups said.

Nothing could be further from the truth: asylum remains U.S. law. What’s also a fact is that the Trump administration has been trying to end asylum by fiat through its numerous cruel and illegal policies, like Remain in Mexico. “CBP’s policies are further exacerbating a humanitarian crisis of the agency’s own creation across northern Mexico,” the complaint continued, “with thousands of asylum seekers stuck in encampments in areas were migrants commonly face kidnappings, rape, and disappearances.”

With shelters in Mexico either too crowded or too dangerous because they’ve been targeted by kidnappers, families have been forced to live in unfit encampments, the complaint said. “In all three locations, asylum seekers report that their children do not have access to school, have trouble finding food, and sleep on the ground, either in tents, on concrete, or on dirt. In all three locations, asylum seekers report inadequate sanitary conditions, inadequate access to health care, and general fear of violence.” Once again, there is a crisis at the border—and it’s one created by our government.

The complaint calls on the Homeland Security inspector general and Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, as well as CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, to “fulfill their oversight obligations by investigating CBP’s unlawful policy and issuing robust and timely recommendations for ending a policy that continues to violate the rights of thousands. CBP must immediately end this policy and process all Mexican asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.”

“Our decades long commitment to asylum is being flagrantly disobeyed by an administration intent on stopping any migration to the U.S.,” said Andre Segura, legal director for the ACLU of Texas. “By turning away people seeking refuge, CBP continues its practice of ignoring threats to human safety and refusing to follow the basic premise of asylum law. We demand CBP end its metering policy for all asylum seekers, especially those Mexican nationals returned to the very country from which they fled.”