On March 21, 2017, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held a hearing on Policies that Prevent Access to Asylum in the United States. Civil society organizations and legal clinics reported on U.S. policies that inhibit people who arrive at the border from accessing critical protections. The organizations presented documented cases of asylum seekers who were turned back by U.S. migration officials after expressing fear and their right to present an asylum claim.
By refusing entry to asylum seekers and others without proper documents, U.S. authorities are putting families, children, and other individuals at great risk and exposing these vulnerable populations to organized crime, smugglers, and corrupt authorities in Mexican border towns.
In preparation for the hearing, WOLA, the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) and the Kino Border Initiative outlined many of the dangers that migrants and asylum seekers face in Mexico’s northern border region. Violence and crimes against migrants in the northern border states have long been documented to include cases of disappearances, kidnappings, rape, trafficking, extortion, executions, and sexual and labor exploitation by state and non-state actors. The document summarizes official statistics and examples of documented cases by state.
Below is the full list of organizations involved in the March 21 hearing before the Inter-American Commission:
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
- American Immigration Council (AIC)
- American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
- Human Rights First (HRF)
- Innovation Law Lab
- Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI)
- Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States
- Kino Border Initiative
- Latin America Working Group (LAWG)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)
- Transnational Legal Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law
- Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas Law School
- Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
- Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC)