A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday evening that the Trump administration can continue forcing desperate asylum seekers to remain in some of the most dangerous cities in the world while they await asylum hearings. Three Honduran migrants were killed in Juarez last week, and two migrant teens were killed in Juarez in December. Here’s what the court’s means for actual people:
Texas Monthly: “At the first set of hearings on April 17, several parents pleaded with Herbert not to be sent back to Juarez, where many of them said they’d been robbed, or worse. “Yesterday, I stepped out [from a Ciudad Juárez shelter] to buy my lunch, and a man tried to take my son,” said Riccy, a 24-year-old Honduran woman who held her 4-year-old, Binsel. She didn’t provide more detail, and Herbert didn’t ask. “If you leave [the shelter] to buy food or something, they tell me to hold my daughter’s hand tightly because there are bad people out there,” said Yessenia, 31, of her 7-year-old….
“As to the fate of the other families: the Escobars said that while they were in detention they witnessed six families being returned to Mexico on Good Friday. Because of confusion in Juarez, the families were then put out on the street, realizing their worst fears, Rivas said. (Shelter officials have promised to find space for any MPP families in the future.)”
The appeals court said that Mexico has promised safety and some work visas for migrants. Juarez has one of the highest murder rates in the world, shelters are full, and Mexico has stopped processing humanitarian visas in recent weeks.
“Mexico has halted the liberal visa policy and ramped up detentions of migrants heading north, government data shows, following criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump of a jump in the number of Central American asylum seekers reaching the U.S. border in February.”
Access to lawyers—crucial in preparing asylum cases—is also difficult tp impossible for asylum seekers waiting in Mexico.
“There’s an added layer of complication since many asylum seekers in Mexico either don’t have cellphones or if they do, can’t afford to make international calls. For lawyers, it’s also difficult to find a place to meet in Tijuana where they can have private conversations with their clients — a necessity given the sensitive nature of much of their cases.”
Notifying asylum seekers of hearing dates poses another problem:
“Judge Jonathan Simpson at a San Diego courthouse repeatedly asked the government’s attorney how to handle cases of applicants told to wait for their U.S. court dates in Mexican border towns.
“How does the court serve them if we do not have an address?” Simpson asked, after saying he was concerned whether the government could serve notices for court appearances to migrants in Mexico.
“I don’t have the answer,” replied government attorney Robert Wetteis.”
The appeals court decision is not a final ruling, but applies while the ACLU’s legal challenge to the Remain in Mexico program proceeds through the court system.