WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued the following statement by Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney with the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project, responding to the Biden administration’s plan to reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy next month. The announcement follows an August decision by the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to stay a Texas district court’s injunction ordering the federal government to enforce and implement the draconian policy in good faith.
“The Biden administration should have already issued a new memorandum terminating Remain in Mexico and moved to vacate the injunction in Texas v. Biden rather than just forging ahead.
“Restarting this draconian Trump-era policy flies in the face of this administration’s promise to rebuild our asylum system. By forcing people to live under perilous conditions in Mexico, the government jeopardizes their personal safety, denies them access to basic human needs, and deprives them of a meaningful opportunity to present their claims.
“The administration should instead focus its energy on fighting this illegal policy every way it can and establishing a fair and humane asylum process for all those who seek protection.”
Two weeks after the government returned the first person under the policy on Jan. 29, 2019, the SPLC, in partnership with the ACLU and the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, filed a lawsuit, Innovation Law Lab v. Wolf, challenging the legality of the Remain in Mexico policy on behalf of affected asylum seekers and six legal service providers.
In October 2020, the SPLC, in partnership with Innovation Law Lab, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and pro bono partner Arnold & Porter LLP, filed an additional lawsuit challenging the implementation of the Remain in Mexico policy. That lawsuit alleged that by trapping asylum seekers in dangerous zones in Mexico, the policy deprived thousands of asylum seekers of access to legal assistance and other tools needed to meaningfully present their claims.
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