Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Deadly fire at detention center raises questions about asylum seeker safety in Mexico


President Trump's Remain in Mexico policy required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims were being decided.  The assumption was that the noncitizens would be safe there.  A number of President Biden's policies rest on similar assumptions. 

Is the assumption of safety for asylum seekers in Mexico justified?  ImmigrationProf has posted (here, here) on the tragic fire at an immigrant detention center in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just across the border from El Paso, Texas.  Mexico's President Obrador publicly stated that immigrant detainees set mattresses on fire in protest of their deportation.  One news report offered thoughts on the incident:

"At least 40 people died. The victims are mostly migrants from Guatemala and Venezuela. 

The incident raises questions about Mexico's ability to protect refugees who are forced to wait on U.S. asylum cases there under President Joe Biden's latest immigration strategy. 

`I don't know what specifically they were supposed to have done, but I think they clearly did not have systems in place to prevent this type of disaster,' said Sara Ramey, an immigration attorney and director of the Migrant Center for Human Rights. `They should have.'" 


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