In January 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began forcing migrants seeking asylum at our southern border to remain in Mexico while they wait for their cases to move forward in the U.S., a policy called Remain in Mexico (RIM). RIM is one of the many ways that the administration is currently denying asylum to families, children, and individuals seeking protection at our borders.
RIM violates domestic and international law by returning asylum-seekers to dangerous conditions without an adequate screening process, effectively denying asylum seekers their right to be represented by counsel, and preventing asylum seekers from receiving a fair day in court. The violence and instability in Mexico also mean that these asylum seekers, including families, women and children, risk further trauma while they wait for their hearings. Over 60,000 asylum seekers have already been returned to danger in Mexico under this policy, many of whom have fallen victim to kidnapping, sexual assault, extortion, and other human rights violations as they await their next court hearings.
Instead of ending this unlawful and dangerous program, the government expanded it, building massive temporary tent facilities to serve as virtual immigration courtrooms for RIMcases. During the hearings, asylum seekers are held in the tents while judges appear remotely via video from traditional courtrooms. Unlike in other immigration courts, the government has barred the public from accessing these tent courts, including members of the media and attorney observers, even though immigration courts are supposed to be open to the public.
Join us in urging members of Congress to demand public access to the tent courts and defund the dangerous RIM program altogether.
Dear [[Recipient’s Title and Name]]:
As a resident of «City», «State» and your constituent, I am outraged that the government is forcibly returning people seeking asylum at our southern border to Mexico while they wait for their cases to move forward in the U.S. Asylum seekers should be allowed to wait for their hearings in safety within the United States.
This policy, known as “Remain in Mexico” (RIM), is inhumane and violates domestic and international law. Hundreds of people returned under the policy have fallen victim to kidnapping, sexual assault, extortion, and other human rights violations while surviving in Mexico as they await their next court hearings. RIM also makes it effectively impossible for asylum seekers to find lawyers and have a fair day in court.
To make matters worse, the government expanded the program, building secretive tent courts that are completely closed to the public. Under law, immigration courts are generally supposed to be open to the public. By closing them, the government is shutting off the public’s ability to see the human rights violations taking place within.
DHS must be held accountable for violating the rights of migrants. I urge you to defund the dangerous RIM program altogether, and also to require that the government allow public access to the tent courts until RIM is halted.
Thanks for your time,
[Your Full Name]