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  HOME | Mexico

US, Mexico Complicit in Worsening Refugee Crisis, AI Says

MEXICO CITY – An executive order on border control by the President of the United States Donald Trump and similar reckless border crackdown by Mexico pose a serious threat to the lives of thousands of immigrants, warned Amnesty International in a report on Thursday.

Madeleine Penman, a Mexico expert and author of the report, “Facing Walls: USA and Mexico’s violation of the rights of asylum seekers,” told EFE that Central America is experiencing a refugee crisis and Trump’s implementation of inhumane border measures (and similar measures from Mexico) will only worsen it.

“The USA and Mexico are partners in crime in brewing up a burgeoning human rights catastrophe. The USA is building a cruel watertight system to prevent people in need from receiving international protection and Mexico is all too willing to play the role of the USA’s gatekeeper,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

The report examines the implications of the executive order that Trump passed on Jan. 25, and a series of other measures, and concluded they will lead to at-risk refugees being pushed back into life-threatening situations, and increase the duration of illegal but mandatory detention of refugees.

These measures are endangering the situation of some 450,000 people, who flee the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras) each year to Mexico and the United States, said Penman, who spent several months documenting the cases, that include families with babies and children who were locked up for more than 600 days at an immigrant detention center.

Penman added Trump’s presidency was threatening to create a catastrophic human rights situation for vulnerable refugee groups.

The AI report was released at a time when the US and Mexico are holding high level talks in Miami on security and prosperity in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Most asylum seekers originate from these countries, Penman said, and pointed out these immigrants are no longer crossing over in search of the “American Dream,” but are fleeing extreme violence back home.

Around 90,000 applications for asylum or shelter were processed last year between Mexico and the US but the acceptance rate is nominal.

In the United States, granting asylum to Central American refugees is lower than among other nationalities, she added.

In 2016, 39,881 people from the Northern Triangle sought asylum in the US and only 5 percent were approved, although some applications are still being processed.

Of some 3,000 asylum applications accepted by Mexico last year 91 percent were Central American.

In Mexico, 97 percent of the 147,370 people, who were deported, were from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Penman called out Mexico’s double standards for mistreating refugees from Central America while crying hoarse about the US’ treatment of Mexican immigrants.

The report, which was compiled over the course of more than a year in the countries involved and includes interviews with asylum seekers, immigrants, civil servants and civilian entities, stresses that AI does not oppose border control but urges states to implement it while safeguarding the human rights of refugees.


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