We recently reached the one year anniversary of the “Remain in Mexico” ruling. It was the one year anniversary of the U.S. sending families into Mexican cities that the U.S. State Department says are too dangerous to enter.
Today, I was at a shelter in Nuevo Laredo. There were many people getting their asylum applications ready for their court appointments tomorrow. The forms were all in English and there were no immigration professionals available because, again, it is too dangerous for them to enter.
I have been collecting their stories through letters. Sooo many have been held for ransom by the cartels for thousands of U.S. dollars. This is accompanied by torture to motivate and starvation as no food is provided, not even for the little ones.
During the day, I received a message that there is a family in Piedras Negras who needs to get to court in Nuevo Laredo. The drive is over two hours through cartel territory. (Actually, I believe it crosses into the territory of a second cartel.) They will need to arrive by either 4:30 am or 9 am, depending on the time of their appointment. How will this family safely get to court? If they take a bus, the bus station in Nuevo Laredo is not a safe place to be and is not within walking distance of the court.
If they arrive safely at court, this family may have gone through all of this just to receive a paper or to turn in the paper they received at their last appointment. Usually, months pass between each appointment and they have to return many times. Even after all of these steps and time spent waiting, the family is unlikely to receive a lawyer or asylum. In fact, only 4% of asylum seekers who are a part of the “Remain in Mexico” ruling receive a lawyer and only 1 of every 1,000 asylum seeker going to court is granted asylum despite the horrible things happening in their country. Successfully seeking asylum has purposely been made almost impossible.
This treatment of immigrants is not just, not compassionate, and not supported by ANY holy book or faith group. Yet, it continues. Please speak up to the offices of your Senators and Representatives and beg them to have mercy on these traumatized families who continue to live in great danger. They try to jump through every US asylum hoop meant to block their way. Be part of the change! Do something kind and compassionate! Join the efforts to make noise to end these horrific obstacles to asylum.
Written by Sister Denise LaRock, D.C.