International/National: USA Closes Southern Border to Asylum Seekers Due to Coronavirus

merlin_147497259_5b459f8d-d2a3-4a2b-aa17-6c8d62a74ef4-superJumbo (1)@New York Times

On March 24th, the United States government closed access to any asylum application on its border with Mexico. According to the New York Times, analysts say this is the first time since the current asylum system began that the United States has closed the asylum program on its border.

The US government has also postponed appointments for asylum seekers, who are thousands waiting in Mexico, some for months. In addition, the government has announced that all foreigners found crossing the Mexican border without documents will be returned to Mexico.

One justification given for returning everyone to Mexico is that there are many people in detention centers in the United States, and that if someone with coronavirus enters, it could quickly spread inside. On the Mexican side of the border, there is also a coronavirus-related health risk for migrants.

In Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, where there are more than 1,300 migrants from various countries in shelters, there is concern regarding coronavirus for migrants who are waiting there, not only because they are a transitional group by definition, but also because they have underlying health issues, and because there is a lack of personal space, basic cleaning supplies and personal care.

Critics of the Trump government accuse him of taking advantage of the cornavirus pandemic to intensify his anti-immigration policies, while the people of the country are preoccupied with their own economic and health concerns.

For more information in Spanish:

El cierre de la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México frustra la esperanza de los solicitantes de asilo New York Times, 23 de marzo de 2020.

Migrantes, desamparados frente al coronavirus Educa, 23 de marzo de 2020.

EEUU pospone todas las audiencias de solicitantes de asilo devueltos a México debido al coronavirus Univision, 24 de marzo de 2020.

For more information from SIPAZ:

National/International: Mexico and US Reevaluate Migration Agreement after Three Months; Disagreement over Desired Outcomes (September 23, 2019)

Nacional/Internacional: Acuerdo sobre migración entre EUA y México cancela imposición de aranceles al segundo (June 8,2019).

Mexico – National/International: Latest Amnesty International Report on the Deadly Return of Central American Asylum Seekers from Mexico (February 15, 2018)

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