Stranded: The Impact of US Policies on Asylum Seekers

19 May 2020|Policy and Advocacy

“I don’t want to face again everything I already faced,” Maria exclaimed. Maria is a 30-year-old mother of two young children, who fled from Honduras after her family’s lives had been threatened by gangs. After a long journey, being kidnapped and extorted in Northern Mexico, crossing the Rio Grande River, and being arrested by US Border Patrol, the family of three were told to return to Mexico, threatening their safety and lives. Maria and her family are stranded.

In January 2019, the US government announced a policy called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as “Remain in Mexico,” which forces asylum seekers arriving at ports of entry on the US-Mexico border to return to Mexico to wait while their claim is processed. The outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent closing of the southern border have only further dismantled the US system of asylum and put more people seeking safety in danger. Though no new MPP cases are currently begin accepted, most people, including those legally seeking asylum are currently being turned away.

Stranded: The Impact of US Policies on Asylum Seekers shares the testimonies of people who are facing the real and often heart breaking consequences of US asylum policies.

The report calls for changes to these policies, asking policy makers to:

  • Re-instate access to asylum at US borders putting in place measures that manage risks to public health, but that do not deny persons seeking protection.
  • Complete the current House Judiciary investigation into the legality of MPP.
  • Oppose the Remain in Mexico policy, should it be reinstated, and allow asylum seekers to wait safely in the US during the adjudication of their asylum claim.


For more resources and information on how you can support asylum-seekers, visit Seeking Asylum at the US Border.

Children who are legally seeking safety are being told they cannot come to the United States to find it. I have witnessed first-hand the direct impact this has had on people’s lives. Even in the current context, we can both welcome them and protect public health
Giulia McPherson, JRS/USA Director of Advocacy

Take Action

Every human being has the right to seek asylum and to do so in a safe, protective environment. We must put an end to unreasonable barriers that make it nearly impossible to seek asylum in our country. After reading Stranded, click here to take action and urge your policymakers to protect asylum during this time, reverse “Remain in Mexico” if it is reinstated when the border opens, and restore US leadership in protecting the most vulnerable among us

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