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The lame duck administration of Mexican President Peña Nieto is negotiating to designate Mexico as a “safe third country” in a new agreement with the U.S.

The language sounds nice, but we strongly oppose the agreement because it furthers the Trump administration’s attack on the legal rights of those who seek safety — in the form of asylum — at our border.

If Mexico is deemed a “safe third party” country, asylum seekers traveling from Central America would be required to seek asylum in Mexico and the U.S. would be able to legally deny all asylum claims – even those that previously merited consideration.

The problem is that Mexico is neither a safe or viable asylum option for many people — least of all vulnerable migrants.

Migrants continue to be abused, extorted, kidnapped, raped and murdered and death while crossing Mexico and Mexico’s asylum system is not equipped for a surge of petitions.

To date, Mexico has failed to make demonstrable progress in screening individuals for protection needs and continues to return families and children to life-threatening situations. 

If the “safe third party agreement” is signed, migrants who steer clear of dangers in Mexico and choose to carry onwards to a U.S. legal port of entry will be systematically turned away without the ability to request a “credible fear” screening.

Such an agreement would legalize the already horrendous methods currently being used to deflect asylum claims. These include leaving families out in the sun and heat for days even as they wait to enter the U.S. legally.

Please write U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and call on him to withdraw the “safe third country agreement” with Mexico. We must protect migrants fleeing violence in their home countries and not put them at risk of further abuse.

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Dear Secretary Pompeo:

The national media has been reporting the potential signing of a a “Safe Third Country” agreement with Mexico that would require asylum seekers transiting through Mexico to apply for protection there, rather than in the United States. It would also allow US border officials to deny all asylum applications — entrusting their safety to Mexico’s asylum system.

Mexico’s current asylum system cannot accommodate this influx of migrants. Mexico has failed to make demonstrable progress in screening individual’s legitimate safety concerns and continues to return families and children to life-threatening situations. Mexico itself is a dangerous place for vulnerable migrants seeking protection and should not be designated a “Safe Third Country”.

Please stop this “Safe Third Country” agreement and work to ensure quick and effective access review for all asylum seekers on U.S. soil, as required by U.S. law.