FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 15, 2022
#SafeNotStranded Campaign Stresses the Impact of Remain in Mexico on Vulnerable Populations Ahead of Supreme Court Arguments in Biden v. Texas
Advocates urge the Supreme Court to recognize the inhumanity of the Remain in Mexico program and the legal precedent the case will set on executive powers
WASHINGTON, DC— With the Supreme Court beginning oral arguments on April 26, the #SafeNotStranded campaign met with national press to discuss the massive implications of Biden v. Texas, and how the court’s decision will affect thousands of individuals, families, and children seeking refuge and asylum. #SafeNotStranded is a case-bound campaign that was created to urge the Supreme Court to reverse the decision from the lower court to terminate the Remain in Mexico (RMX) policy. On April 15, legal, policy, and advocate experts Linda Corchado (Interim Executive Director, Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center), Karen Tumlin (Founder and Director, Justice Action Center), Margaret Cargioli (Directing Attorney, Immigrant Defenders Law Center), and Erin Mazursky (Interim Director, Families Belong Together) spoke on the Trump administration’s RMX program and its harmful impacts on vulnerable people.
The Trump administration instituted the RMX policy in 2018, returning asylum seekers to or stopping them in Mexico, upending the decades-long precedent of allowing people fleeing danger the ability to seek asylum in the United States. The policy has forced more than 71,000 vulnerable people, including children, to languish in dangerous conditions in Mexican border towns for the duration of their immigration court proceedings.
Tens of thousands of people legally attempting to seek protection in the United States have been subjected to this inherently cruel policy that strands people seeking safety at the border in dangerous and often deadly situations. Asylum seekers who are LGBTQ+, disabled, Black, Indigenous, or pregnant are especially vulnerable and targeted in these border camps. The Supreme Court will hear the case on April 26 and #SafeNotStranded will be holding a rally ahead of the oral arguments in support of the Biden administration’s ending of RMX.
Speakers during the press call urged that the Supreme Court recognize the Biden administration’s power to revoke RMX. Those working directly with impacted individuals shared stories of their experiences at the border.
“On the El Paso-Juárez border, Las Americas has experienced the horrors of RMX, another racist and cynical Trump-era policy used to deny the right to asylum for thousands. A victim of RMX is our client Vilma, an Indigenous, monolingual K’iche speaker, from Guatemala fleeing persecution, violence, and discrimination. After Vilma crossed into the U.S., border patrol agents made no effort to find the appropriate interpretation to communicate with her. Because of this negligence, Vilma was sent to Mexico despite an existing policy at that time barring placement of non-Spanish speakers into RMX,” said Linda Corchado, Interim Executive Director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center. “Biden v Texas is another cruel attempt to make Indigenous, Black, and Brown asylum seekers, like Vilma, susceptible to more danger. It’s up to the Supreme Court to learn about our stories on the border and allow the Biden administration to use their power to once and for all terminate a program that has brought so much grief and neglect.”
“The Migrant Protection Protocols program is a moral, legal, and policy failure which has caused harm and trauma to thousands of asylum seekers,” said Margaret Cargioli, Directing Attorney for Immigrant Defenders Law Center. “Asylum is legal. The Migrant Protection Protocols program is illegal. The Biden administration’s thorough assessment of the program, backed by evidence, proves the program is inhumane. We urge the Supreme Court of the United States to allow the administration to end this cruel program.”
“The decision before the Court is about what type of country we want to be: one that turns vulnerable people back to danger or one that welcomes people with dignity. The lives of over seventy thousand vulnerable people subjected to Remain in Mexico hang in the balance already — and the consequences to our asylum system will last generations. If the Biden administration is forced to continue this policy, America cannot live up to our centuries’ old promise of taking in ‘your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.’ Simply put, future generations — political refugees and families fleeing violence —will not be able to turn to the U.S. for protection and support, “ said Erin Mazursky, Interim Managing Director of Families Belong Together. “This is the United States of America: we have the means and the know-how to create an orderly, safe, and dignified process for people to seek safety at our border. When instead, we force vulnerable people to languish on our doorstep, it is a stain on our collective moral conscience. Repealing Remain in Mexico is an essential first step to restoring asylum to that of a modern, 21st century system.”
“It is no secret that states like Texas are attempting to co-opt our legal system to codify a national anti-immigrant agenda. Biden v. Texas is one example of such an attempt to continue Trump’s inhumane and unlawful immigration policies even after his presidency,” said Karen Tumlin, Founder and Director of Justice Action Center. “Now, it is up to the Supreme Court to affirm the power of the executive branch to enact its own foreign and domestic policies, and to prevent any more people fleeing for their lives from being kidnapped, raped, extorted, or killed as a result of RMX.”
#SafeNotStranded is a coalition powered by thousands of people and organizations including Families Belong Together, FWD.us, Justice Action Center, and many more. Representatives can be made available for comment across the duration of the campaign, which will last until after the Supreme Court is expected to announce a decision in early Summer 2022. More information on the campaign can be found on their website https://safenotstranded.org/.