By Molly O’Toole, Los Angeles Times
Under the Migrant Protection Protocols — better known as “Remain in Mexico” — Trump administration officials have pushed 37,578 asylum seekers back across the U.S. southern border in roughly seven months, according to Homeland Security Department reports reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. One-third of the migrants were returned to Mexico from California. The vast majority have been scattered throughout Mexico within the last 60 days.
While their cases wind through court in the United States, the asylum seekers are forced to wait in Mexico, in cities that the U.S. State Department considers some of the most dangerous in the world. They have been attacked, sexually assaulted and extorted. A number have died.
In dozens of interviews and in court proceedings, current and former officials, judges, lawyers and advocates for asylum seekers said that Homeland Security officials implementing Remain in Mexico appear to be violating U.S. law, and the human cost is rising. Testimony from another dozen asylum seekers confirmed that they were being removed without the safeguards provided by U.S. law.