On September 15, Temple University Law School’s Sheller Center for Social Justice and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) announced the publication of a new series of Annotated Table of Contents (ATOCs) for asylum claims for children who have fled gang recruitment in Guatemala and Honduras. These resources are being released at a time when the Biden administration is now accepting asylum claims based on fear of gang violence, reversing a decision made in 2018 by the Trump administration that had severely curtailed access to protection for impacted individuals and families.
With the United States continuing to enforce deterrence-based migration policies and historic cycles of externalization of the U.S. border to southern Mexico, access to asylum remains at a difficult juncture. While there is an urgent need to establish a fair asylum system in the United States and at the border, those able to currently present claims in the United States also need support. The ongoing asylum project between Temple University Law School and WOLA produces research, in the form of ATOCs, to support asylum lawyers and their clients by bolstering their arguments about country conditions in Central America’s Northern Triangle region and select conditions in Mexico. The resources ultimately underscore how government actors are unable and unwilling to protect individuals fearing persecution at the hands of non-state actors.
Past resources that supplement the series include the persecution of Indigenous peoples in Honduras and Guatemala; the high-risk security situation of human rights defenders and journalists in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico; and the hazards of the Remain in Mexico program.
Other ATOCs in the series also include the inability to internally relocate; extortion of small business owners; as well as state complicity in harms perpetrated by gangs and other non-state actors, domestic violence and gender-based harms, and persecution of members of the LGBT+ community for the Northern Triangle.