Washington, DC—As the United States and Mexico prepare for the first high-level security dialogue between the two nations, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) urges both governments to prioritize the safety and security of migrants at their borders, including children and families, and ensure their access to the protections they are guaranteed under each country’s laws. The U.S. delegation, co-led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and which includes Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland, must re-commit to ensuring the fundamental right of migrants to seek safety in other countries.
“The United States and Mexico have an opportunity to leave behind the punitive and unsuccessful policies of deterrence and harsh enforcement of the past and work towards a strong bilateral relationship that respects the rights of asylum seekers and provides fair access to the protections offered by each country under law,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “The Biden Administration has promised to promote ‘safe, orderly, and humane migration’ across the region, but what we’ve seen in the last few months falls significantly short of this pledge. The shared vision of both countries must include the protection of migrants, including unaccompanied children, and a commitment that no one will be returned to danger.”
While both nations have pledged to work together to improve security at the border, the safety of those seeking protection must no longer be disregarded. Asylum seekers have been detained and deported from Mexico and are still denied entry into the United States under Title 42. Children seeking safety are subjected to violence and abuse by cartels and other criminal organizations. Children continue to be separated from their parents. The United States recently deported more than 4,000 Haitian migrants to Haiti, where some have not been for years, and subjected a number to abuse at the border.
Nongovernmental groups working in southern Mexico have documented violence and abuse by the Mexican government against asylum seeking families, women, children, and adults. Civil society organizations have reported multiple cases of forced family separation, in which families are detained, separated, and, in some cases, deported without due process.
“Both the United States and Mexico have failed to respect the best interests of children and the fundamental right of asylum seekers to seek protection in another country,” Young added. “The world is watching how we treat asylum seekers and migrants in the region, and to continue to allow the flagrant abuse of their right to safety would deal a devastating blow to the international protection system as a whole and to the United States’ return as a leader in the protection of the most vulnerable,” Young concluded.
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