Last week, the Clinic and five other groups filed a request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, demanding that they investigate the Mexican government’s complicity in the illegal practice of “metering,” under which thousands of individuals seeking asylum in the United States are forced to wait for prolonged periods in limbo in Mexico. This practice stands in violation of various treaty obligations, including the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. The request was jointly filed with the Border Rights Project of Al Otro Lado, Alma Migrante, A. C., Programa de Asuntos Migratorios y Posgrado de Antropología de la Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México-Tijuana, and Families Belong Together Mexico.
Numerous organizations have documented the attacks on asylum seekers waiting at the border, to which Mexican authorities often turn a blind eye. The hearing request catalogs a host of rights violations along the U.S.-Mexico border, including:
- a gay couple from Honduras in Nuevo Laredo who were kidnapped, beaten and threatened;
- a 17-year-old Honduran boy who was attacked at knife point;
- Guatemalan transgender women who were detained by police in Tijuana;
- a woman from Honduras who was struck in the head and knocked unconscious; and,
- A Salvadoran man who was deported from Piedras Negras by Mexican authorities without being informed of his right to seek asylum.
“The practice of metering entry into the United States has placed asylum seekers from Mexico at an increased risk of persecution, torture, or even death, as they wait in limbo at the border,” said Sabrineh Ardalan, Assistant Director at HIRC. “It also exposes asylum seekers from Central American countries, including Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, to deportation by Mexico back to the countries they originally fled, often in fear for their lives.”
In the hearing request, HIRC and the five signatories urged the Commission to schedule site visits on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border to monitor the treatment of asylum seekers and called on Mexico to adopt legislative and administrative changes to ensure due process and safeguard the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.