A scathing report released Wednesday by a nonprofit human rights organization details the dangers and horrors facing asylum seekers in the two months since the Biden administration lifted Title 42.
He report, published by Human Rights First, was based on visits by lawyers and investigators to the southern border. It included interviews with more than 300 migrants and asylum seekers in Mexican cities such as Reynosa and Matamoros, where thousands of people are camping in large makeshift camps amid a persistent and brutal summer heat wave.
Earlier this week, a 15-year-old Guatemalan girl died while in the custody of the US refugee agency. It was the fourth death of a migrant child in federal custody this year.
Many of these concerns have been raised by migrants and activists since the pandemic-era border restriction ended earlier this year, but the report is the first to compile a comprehensive view of the impact on people crossing the border and they seek asylum.
Investigators found that while migrants wait for appointments through Customs and Border Protection’s CBP One app, which is used to schedule border appointments when seeking to enter the United States, many are exposed to violent crime, assault and even torture. .
«While Biden administration officials have incorrectly touted that it ‘works,’ the sad reality is that the asylum ban is a legal, humanitarian, and refugee protection travesty,» the researchers wrote in the report. «Biden’s asylum ban has stranded vulnerable people in places where they are subjected to kidnapping and violent assault, rigged the credible fear process against people seeking asylum, and deported many without meaningful access to counsel and despite potential eligibility for asylum under US law».
In one case detailed in the report, a Honduran woman was raped while waiting for an appointment with CBP One and then turned away by Mexican agents at a port of entry despite the risk to her life. In another, an elderly woman from Colombia was physically and verbally assaulted in the Matamoros camp by a cartel member. In early June, two Haitian couples traveling with an 11-month-old baby said they had survived an attempted kidnapping.
«Our findings make it clear that Biden’s asylum ban is a legal and humanitarian disgrace,» said Christina Asencio, director of research and analysis at Human Rights First and a co-author of the report. «Under the asylum ban, people seeking the protection of this country are forced to wait for months in Mexico, where they are subjected to kidnapping, sexual violence and exploitation, while struggling to obtain one of the limited appointments through the CBP One app, highly flawed.»
The app has come under fire in recent weeks. Immigration advocates say the app is cumbersome and takes too long to secure an appointment, while opponents say it’s only encouraging more people to cross into the US illegally. The Biden administration has said the app is found among the measures that have helped reduce illegal immigration by more than 70%. since Title 42 ended.
Last month, CBP said it would increase the number of appointments available on the app from 1,250 to 1,450 per day.
But Alma Ruth, founder of the McAllen, Texas-based nonprofit Practice Mercy Foundation, has visited a number of migrant camps in recent weeks and says conditions there are deteriorating rapidly as temperatures rise, scarce drinking water and criminals take advantage of people seeking asylum. or hoping to enter the US
Recently, a family from Guatemala asked him to pray for them after gunshots erupted in a Reynosa camp where the cartels run rampant.
«The number of pregnant women, lactating women, young children, babies is outrageous,» he said.
“No government cares if these people live or die,” he added, referring to the United States and Mexico.