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Waiting at the Border: the Risks and Challenges Faced by Asylum Seekers in Mexican Border Towns

  • 121 Cannon House Office Building (map)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

10:00am – 11:00am

121 Cannon House Office Building

By early June 2019, close to 19,000 asylum seekers were waiting in Mexican border towns for an appointment with Customs and Border Protection at a port of entry. This backlog of processing asylum claims is a direct result of the Trump administration’s policy of “metering” the entry of asylum seekers into the country.  Fleeing violence and deprivation in their home countries, thousands of asylum seekers are now waiting weeks or months in Mexico, facing risks of violence, extortion, kidnapping by criminal organizations, and a lack of adequate shelter or economic opportunities to sustain themselves and their families.  With the announced expansion of the “Remain in Mexico” program, thousands more Central American asylum seekers will be sent back to Mexican border towns to await their immigration hearings in the U.S. 

The Waitlist, a short video shot in Tijuana, Mexico, provides a vivid picture of the challenges that asylum-seekers face on their journey to the border and in coping with the long wait for an appointment with U.S. officials.

Please join us for this briefing to present the video, followed by a discussion of the impact that CBP’s “metering” policy is having on the safety and well-being of asylum seekers, the Mexican government’s response to the growing humanitarian crisis, and actions U.S. policymakers can take to resolve it.

Opening & Welcoming Remarks by Rep. Veronica Escobar

Speakers:

Natasha Pizzey, Mexico based filmmaker and multimedia journalists

Adam Isacson, Director for Defense Oversight, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

Kennji Kizuka, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst, Refugee Protection, Human Rights First