CONTACT:
Gabriela Lopez, Immigration Committee Member, gabriela@oaklandclo.com, (415) 952-0597

The Immigration Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Bay Area, urges the Mexican government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to cease collaborating with the Trump Administration in its illegal and immoral treatment of Central American asylum seekers displaced by the fallout from U.S. imperialism in the region.

Since February 2019, the López Obrador Government has allowed the United States to expel over 11,000 asylum seekers back into Mexico to wait for hearings under the so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (“MPP”). Before that, it helped enforce an illegal “metering” system by U.S. border authorities that stranded asylum seekers for months in Mexico’s notoriously violent border towns. Victims of these policies are routinely abused, extorted, or summarily deported by rogue Mexican officials, cartels, human traffickers, or racist agitators. Indeed, the latest reports show that even some Mexican asylum seekers have been returned under MPP in blatant violation of basic refugee law principles. The illegal MPP and “metering” policies are being challenged in U.S. courts, but they would never have gone into effect in the first place without the cooperation of the Mexican government.

Even as his May 30 letter to Trump professes Mexico’s respect for “universal justice and brotherhood,” the López Obrador Government has doubled down on its collusion. This Mexican government agreed to an expansion of MPP and further militarization of its southern border.

This move is deeply misguided and hypocritical. As President López Obrador’s letter acknowledges, many of Mexico’s own citizens are forced to flee Mexico each year. In previous addresses, President López Obrador has blamed this exodus on unrestrained neoliberal capitalism. At the same time, President López Obrador’s immigration policies punish Central Americans whose countries were turned into failed states by U.S. dirty wars and regime change operations waged on behalf of that same neoliberalism. Finally, this Mexican government’s abject failure to protect asylum seekers already stranded in Mexico, or even effectively process their asylum claims, further underscores the farce of calling this summary deportation policy the “Migrant Protection Protocols.”

To that end, we call on President López Obrador to abandon his cooperation with the Trump Administration and stand in solidarity with Central American refugees who are being displaced by the knock-on effects of U.S. imperialism. Inasmuch as President López Obrador professes a desire for peace with the United States, he might recall the words of eminent Mexican statesman Benito Juárez: “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.”

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The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Immigration Committee is comprised of attorneys, students, and legal workers who work together to provide Know Your Rights trainings, engage in rapid response work, and run the Immigration Court Observation Program (ICOP). The Committee’s listserv of over 200 members also provides a space for practitioners to keep updated on changes to the law and policy, seek practice advice from other immigration attorneys and legal workers, and to support communities and organizations fighting mass deportation and the criminalization of immigrants.