WASHINGTON—Today, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva led 40 colleagues in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security condemning the agency’s policy toward returning vulnerable LGBTQ asylum seekers to dangerous conditions in Mexico while they await their asylum hearings. Additionally, the lawmakers called for an Office of Inspector General and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties investigation into the issues that have forced LGBTQ asylum seekers to remain in Mexico. The lawmakers wrote:
“We are alarmed that more than 50,000 asylum seekers and migrants have been forced back to Mexico, including individuals who identify as LGBT. Most recently, on October 7, twelve asylum seekers were returned to the Mexican town of Matamoros which the U.S Department of State Travel Advisory has designated as a Level 4 area, the “highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks.
LGBT asylum seekers are more likely to face violence in Mexico, with two-thirds reported suffering sexual and gender-based violence. To date, there have been approximately 340 public reports of rape, kidnapping, torture, and other violent attacks against asylum seekers returned to Mexico under MPP. Unquestionably, this figure represents an undercount of potential incidents that have not been reported. It is unacceptable to return asylum seekers, especially those who are vulnerable individuals and exempt from MPP to Mexico where they face danger.”
The letter was a follow-up to an original letter the lawmakers sent in June 2019 requesting information on the impacts of the Migrant Protections Protocols on vulnerable LGBTQ asylum seekers.
The text of the letter sent on November 19, can be found here.
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