In reaction to the US-Mexico Joint Declaration on Migration, Vicki Gass, Oxfam America Senior Policy Advisor for Central America and Mexico, made the following statement:
“Yet again, the Trump administration continues to pursue ill-conceived, short-sighted solutions of dubious legality that ultimately harm the very people they claim to protect.
This deal dramatically expands the Remain in Mexico policy, which endangers the lives of innocent people by forcing tens of thousands of Central Americans to remain in Mexico while they await their asylum claims.
This deal further offshores the US’ legal and moral responsibility to protect vulnerable people seeking protection and will create a real humanitarian crisis in Mexico. Mexico is not a safe country and the US is endangering lives by forcing asylum-seekers to remain there.
While we are relieved that the deal does not include an agreement to return asylum-seekers to their first country of arrival, it is abundantly clear the Trump administration is willing to take every imaginable action to try to keep migrants and asylum-seekers out, irrespective of whether it is legal, humane, effective, or consistent with American values.
Oxfam is especially concerned by the planned militarization at Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. As we have seen with President Trump’s previous efforts, deterrence does not work. Neither a wall, nor tariffs, nor increased militarization at the border will stop people from seeking safe-haven.
Militarization increases the likelihood of human rights violations. Oxfam calls on the US and Mexican governments to uphold their domestic laws and international laws by guaranteeing the right of all peoples to seek asylum and to not criminalize individuals or organizations that provide legal and humanitarian assistance.
Time and time again, the Administration fails to acknowledge the real reasons driving people to flee Central America and seek safety in the US. We call on Congress to address the root causes of forced migration from the region and to clamp down on the dangerous acts of this President that threaten constitutional checks and balances of power and the functioning of our democracy.”