Daily Dispatch 2/4/2020: Defund Remain in Mexico and other campaign updates
February 4, 2020
Take Action to End Remain in Mexico
Last year marked one-year since the Trump administration implemented its “Migrant Protection Protocols,” or the Remain in Mexico policy that requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for asylum hearings before U.S immigration judges. It is an inhumane policy that leaves asylum seekers in unsafe conditions. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) has drafted a Dear Colleague letter, inviting members of Congress to join him in demanding that the Department of Homeland Security end the Remain in Mexico program. Below is background and an action alert from the Latin America Working Group as part of the #RestoreAsylumNow and #EndMPP campaign.
Representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX) is circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter calling for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to immediately terminate MPP. So far, he has 42 co-signers but we need you to call your member of Congress and help triple that number.
Let’s make their phones ring off the hook: Find your representative here >>>
- Sample Script: “My name is ____ and I am a constituent from ____. I urge Representative___ to sign onto a dear colleague letter in support of ending the harmful Remain in Mexico policy. The policy is unlawful and inhumane. 60,000 individuals, families, and children are now suffering, waiting in Mexico without protection. Please contact Isamar Garcia in Rep. Castro’s office to add [YOUR REP’S NAME] to the letter. The letter closes this Wednesday February 5th. Thank you!”
Think your representative has already signed on?
- Click here to see the list of co-signers as of Feb. 3rd
We can’t let this momentum dwindle. Now is the time for action.
Castro’s letter stands as a companion effort to a bill introduced by Representative Veronica Escobar (D-TX) to defund MPP. More background from LAWG:
One year. And 60,000 families, men, women, and children have been forced to wait in danger in Mexico during their asylum proceedings due to the sham Remain in Mexico (MPP) policy. One year of asylum seekers huddled in makeshift tents in freezing temperatures, of children losing their innocence witnessing and enduring human rights abuses, and families being torn apart. A year of inhumanity thanks to the #MigrantPersecutionProtocols. January 29th marks one year since the policy started being implemented, and one year is too long.
Thanks to your calls, some members of Congress traveled to the border to see firsthand the daily suffering that asylum seekers are experiencing. They witnessed the dirty water and feces lined streets asylum seekers are barely surviving in. The sham virtual courtrooms in tents where life-altering decisions are being made from thousands of miles away. Immense suffering—yet the policy still stands. And as long as it keeps being implemented, things will only get worse. More asylum seekers will face violence in Mexico, more will die from a lack of medical care, and more will lose any hope they have of a safe haven.
The administration has also been busy ramping up the deportations of families and individuals to unsafe countries under the “Asylum Cooperation Agreements” signed with Central American countries. The White House does not care about the life threatening dangers from which families, men, women, and children are fleeing.
We need to act. In November, we asked you to call Congress and demand they Defund and End Remain in Mexico. And you followed through. But our work is not over. Representative Veronica Escobar (D-TX) has introduced legislation to Defund Remain in Mexico. Members of Congress can also be asked to co-sponsor this legislation. To see a current list of co-sponsors click here.
Hunger-strike continues for 3 of 5 asylum seekers in Jena, Louisiana
Five men from India who were being held in detention in Jena, Louisiana detention center have been taking part in a hunger strike – for some approaching 100 days now. One of the men was deported, and another released. 3 remain in detention and fighting for their release. Below is an update from Freedom for Immigrants.
Thanks again to everyone who has spent time calling the NOLA ICE Field Office in support of the 5 South Asian asylum seekers who have been on a hunger strike for freedom since October 31.
As I mentioned in the previous update, one of the men was unfortunately deported to India last week. Given his specific circumstances, he was likely always going to be deported, as he lost his appeal months ago. ICE was keeping him in detention — all the while making money off of his incarceration — for months. He began his hunger strike because in his view, it was either die in detention or die upon returning to the dangerous conditions he escaped from.
In happier news, one man was released from detention on Friday! He posted a $12K bond, the cost of which Freedom for Immigrants’ National Bond Fund helped cover. After spending the weekend in the care of doctors, he is on his way to his sponsor in Washington state where he can recover in peace and pursue his asylum case from outside of an immigrant prison.
We truly believe that the pressure, both on the ground and in the media, helped bring attention to this very important issue. But there are others still suffering inside Jena, including one man who is being force-fed and kept in solitary. This is why we are continuing to ask that you keep calling and emailing the NOLA ICE Field Office Acting Director John Hartnett 318-992-1594 John.Hartnett@ice.dhs.gov. You can also call and email the head of NOLA ICE Field Office of Public Affairs Bryan Cox 504-329-2588 Bryan.D.Cox@ice.dhs.gov