Temple University Beasley School of Law‘s Sheller Center for Social Justice and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) are publishing a new series of Annotated Table of Contents (ATOCs) for lawyers supporting asylum claims for persecution based on gender in northern Central America; as well as on state complicity in Nicaragua -how government actors are unable and unwilling to protect Nicaraguans fearing persecution at the hands of state and non-state actors.
These detailed resources are being released at a time when the Biden administration is considering ending Title 42 restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border in the face of mounting criticism by members of Congress and civil society organizations at the use of this illegal policy, particularly as restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic ease domestically. Title 42, which will have been in place two years on March 20, has erroneously used the pretext of the pandemic to close off entry for the majority of asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
On March 12, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a final order that exempts unaccompanied minor children from being expelled under Title 42. While some asylum seekers have been able to request protection at the border, the full lifting of Title 42 restrictions will enable more people fleeing violence and persecution to present their claims in the United States. Now more than ever it is important that lawyers assisting asylum seekers have the tools and resources to strengthen their cases.
The ongoing asylum project between Temple University and WOLA provides expert research for asylum attorneys to bolster their arguments about country conditions in Central America and fortify their client’s claims of dire need to seek protection in the United States.
Past resources that supplement the series include children fleeing recruitment by gangs in Guatemala and Honduras; as well as the persecution of Indigenous peoples in Honduras and Guatemala; the high-risk situation of human rights defenders and journalists in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico; and the hazards of the Remain in Mexico program.
Other ATOC’s in the series include the inability to internally relocate; extortion of small business owners; as well as gang recruitment, domestic violence and gender-based harms and persecution of members of LGBT+ community, and state complicity for Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.