In response to a new policy mandating asylum-seekers arriving at the US-Mexico border remain in Mexico while their claims are processed, Vicki Gass, Oxfam America Senior Policy Advisor for Central America and Mexico, made the following statement:
“Oxfam is outraged by the latest Trump Administration policy restricting the right of people to claim asylum on US soil. Yet again, the Trump Administration shows that it prefers to wipe its hands of any obligation to uphold the rule of law and its responsibility to protect the most vulnerable.
“The new policy is heartless and illegal. US and international law clearly state that all people fleeing violence and persecution have a right to claim asylum. Preventing them from doing so, or requiring asylum-seekers to stay in a third country, also violates the constitutional guarantees of due process.
“By forcing asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico, the US is complicit in endangering the lives of thousands of people. Just last week, two young men were murdered in Mexico as they sought protection in the US. Women and children are particularly at risk; sexual violence is prevalent and often required of women and girls along migration routes to guarantee safe passage.
“The toxic narrative that asylum-seekers are arriving to the US illegally and invading the US is plain wrong. Rather than perpetuating the harmful notion that people seeking protection are ‘aliens trying to game the system’, the US should recognize that people fleeing violence and persecution in Central America deserve humane treatment and a fair shot at their legal right to asylum."