Today Marks One Year of U.S.-Inflicted Human Rights Abuses on Asylum Seekers at the Southern Border

January 29, 2020
Contact: Kali Cohn,, 214-855-0520 x4338

DALLAS—Wednesday, January 29, 2020, marks one year since the Administration implemented its Remain in Mexico (MPP) policy. To date, over 800 cases of kidnappings and other violent attacks against people forced to awaiting their U.S. immigration hearings in Mexico have been tracked by Human Rights First and others.

Bill Holston, Executive Director of Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, responds:

“One year ago, this administration announced the implementation of the absurdly named Migrant Protection Protocols. Contrary to the requirements and norms of international law (as well as decades of practice at our borders), we now require desperate asylum seekers to wait at their peril in Mexico while their cases make their way through our legal system.

“The inevitable result of this unnecessary change in policy has been the abductions, rapes, and deaths of men, women, and children sent back to Mexico. The border regions of Mexico are uniquely violent, and put members of vulnerable communities, like gay and transgender asylum seekers, at particular risk.

“This policy has also made it almost impossible for individuals to pursue their legal cases. There is almost no access to legal counsel, other than the intrepid, brave lawyers who seek to provide representation to individuals trapped at the border in very harsh conditions at risk to their own lives.  

“Since the Refugee Act of 1980 created an orderly process of asylum, we have provided refuge for people fleeing persecution. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, we agreed along with other countries to never turn people away who were seeking asylum from persecution. MPP turns back on that legacy. We will look back on this time with shame.”

About Human Rights Initiative of North Texas

Founded by social worker Serena Simmons Connelly and lawyer Elizabeth Healy, the Dallas-based Human Rights Initiative of North Texas has grown into an award-winning agency helping immigrant survivors of human rights abuses from all over the world. Our courageous and resilient clients are eligible to apply for legal status under the humanitarian provisions of United States immigration laws and policies: they are asylum seekers fleeing persecution; children who have been abandoned, abused, and neglected; and victims of family violence and violent crimes. HRI’s Legal team partners with a network of over 250 pro bono attorneys from top DFW firms and corporations to help clients access the U.S. immigration system, and our Social Services team offers transitional support and referrals to help address trauma and ease the hardships of profound displacement. At HRI, all of our services are free, and all are designed to help forge a path to safety, stability and opportunity. For more information, visit


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