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In response to a negotiated deal between the United States and Mexico that would require people to remain in Mexico while their claims to seek protection are processed in the United States, Amnesty International executive director Margaret Huang issued this statement:

“This deal is a stark violation of international law, flies in the face of US laws passed by Congress, and is a callous response to the families and individuals running for their lives. While mothers, fathers, and children leave everything behind in search of protection, the US and Mexican governments are collaborating to shut down their access to safety. The end result could be the endangerment of thousands of families and individuals seeking protection.

“Make no mistake—Mexico is not a safe country for all people seeking protection. Many people seeking asylum in the United States face discrimination, exploitation, sexual assault, murder, or the possibility of being disappeared while traveling through Mexico or while forced to wait for extraordinarily long times in Mexican border towns. Women, children, and LGBTI people could face heightened and unacceptable risks.

“As long as Mexico fails in its obligations to protect asylum seekers, families seeking protection would be endangered while in Mexico. The US government must not continue endangering the safety of people who are only trying to rebuild their lives.”

For years, Amnesty International has documented the dangers faced by people seeking protection while traveling through Mexico. As recently as this fall, researchers also

documented Mexican immigration officials forcibly returning people seeking protection back to their home countries, in violation of international law.