HIAS Delegation Journal, Day 1: Crash Course to Emergency at the Border

Our wonderful hosts from Jewish Family Services (JFS), a HIAS affiliate, provided training this morning at their local office. Training consisted of a crash course to the emergency situation here in San Diego, California. With the new MPP – Migrant Protection Protocols – program in place, individuals coming to the U.S. to seek asylum from countries like El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are placed in removal proceedings but they are not actually permitted entry into the U.S.

Individuals who are part of this MPP program and their families are required to remain outside the U.S. in Tijuana, Mexico, many living in shelters for the time being. Mexico and Tijuana specifically are NOT equipped to handle the humanitarian crisis the MPP program is creating. Most of these people that are required to remain in Mexico as a result of the MPP program are single mothers and their children. When they have a hearing scheduled, all family members must present themselves at the border, be handcuffed, and then taken to their hearing in downtown San Diego. During the hearing, Customs and Border Protection officers with guns holstered wait in the back with their arms crossed.

This procedure has caused a significant impact to the due process rights of these immigrants. We got our case assignments in the afternoon and I am excited to get to work. Tomorrow we go to the Otay Mesa Detention Center to meet with detained immigrants, followed by an attempt to get into immigration court hearings in downtown San Diego. Should be a very interesting day.

Link to DHS MPP Rhetoric: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2019/01/24/migrant-protection-protocols

Link to the actual result of the MPP: https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/us-sending-asylum-seekers-to-mexico-while-awaiting-court-ruling-in-some-cases-ignoring-own-protocols/2019/05/02/0d819aea-6c58-11e9-8f44-e8d8bb1df986_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d0e27a13b4c5