Dear President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris,
A cordial greeting and congratulations on winning the 2020 election. We trust that under your administration, many of the proposals you have committed to during your campaign, related to the defense of migrants, will be quickly implemented. At the US-Mexico border, there are thousands of families in danger and waiting for a positive response to their asylum claims for more than a year. As you can imagine, this has been detrimental to these men, women, girls, and boys. For the sake of their lives, we ask that as soon as you assume leadership that you respect their right to asylum in the following ways:
- Open the US-Mexico border to receive people seeking asylum and end Title 42 expulsions, since the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has said that the closure of borders does not protect the health, and asylum seekers are at risk in all border cities.
- Immediately eliminate MPP, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” Program, taking into account the Convention on the Status of Refugees and ensuring that the people subject to the program can carry out their asylum cases within the United States in freedom, not in the detention centers where so many people have been infected with COVID-19, and without ankle monitors that serve as a digital prison.
- Immediately eliminate the waitlist to apply for asylum and invest in more USCIS personnel trained to serve migrants more quickly
- Immediately eliminate the separation of migrant families and take immediate action for their family reunification.
- Guarantee legal representation for asylum seekers
- Guarantee the right to seek asylum, especially for vulnerable populations, for example, pregnant women and unaccompanied minors. Many women have seen directly that simply for being pregnant, border authorities dissuade them from or present obstacles to their pursuit of asylum.
These are the key issues for families waiting for asylum at the border, and we who advocate on their behalf. We recognize that there is a great deal of work needed to achieve a fair and humane migration system in the United States, and we ask that with every decision you make, that you consider the human rights of migrants under international law, which was made to protect people fleeing persecution.
The asylum seekers are committed to complying with the health measures put in place to protect us all, both for themselves and for US citizens, measures that should not paralyze the asylum process.
We appreciate your attention to these requests and look forward to a favorable response within the first hundred days of your administration.
cc: [SIMILAR MESSAGE TO YOUR CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS]