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, about the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of a stay of the district court injunction ordering the federal government to reinstate the draconian “Remain in Mexico” policy.
“Today’s ruling will be devastating for countless asylum seekers and their families, but it does not deter us in the least. While it is deeply disturbing to see a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court rubber stamp the lower court’s erroneous decision, we will continue to fight this illegal and unconscionable policy. The “Remain in Mexico” policy forced thousands of people seeking protection into situations where they were subjected to sexual violence, kidnapping, disease, and murder.
“This ruling is also a setback to the Biden administration’s promise to rebuild our asylum system but we will continue to fight for 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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