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As Nielsen Visits Border, “Migrant Protection Protocols” Increase Vulnerability of Migrants

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen is visiting the San Ysidro border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana today. The following statement is attributed to Tamaryn Nelson, senior researcher for Physicians for Human Rights (PHR):

“Physicians for Human Rights has been in Tijuana for the past week, speaking to migrants who have faced unspeakable violence and persecution and who have strong claims to international protection. We hope that Secretary Nielsen’s visit to the San Ysidro border crossing today will be an opportunity for her to also come to Tijuana to witness the suffering of migrants who are now being prevented from exercising their legal right to apply for asylum in the United States.

“The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) enacted last week by the U.S. administration will only exacerbate the growing humanitarian situation on the border, and flagrantly violates the United States’ commitments under both domestic and international laws regarding refugees and asylum seekers.

“An honest and fact-based view of the border should reveal to Secretary Nielsen that the current limbo in which thousands of migrants face indefinite delays to exercise their legal right to claim asylum is both inhumane and unacceptable. PHR calls on Secretary Nielsen to use her border trip to truly understand the implications of the MPP and its dire impacts making asylum seekers more vulnerable. She should take this opportunity to better understand how border protection and immigration agencies under her control can begin to fulfill their legal responsibility to process asylum seekers in safety and dignity. Blocking asylum seekers’ entry is not a solution and violates the United States’ constitutional obligations to due process protections.”

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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Kevin Short

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