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Citing Dangerous Conditions in Mexico, Federal Judge Allows Five Central American Asylum Seekers to Enter the U.S.

On May 14th, 2020, a Massachusetts federal judge allowed five asylum seekers—three women and two young children—to enter the United States early, while their asylum claim is still being reviewed. In the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, a judge ruled that the migrants were likely to be granted asylum and that they faced dangerous conditions in Mexico (Andres Oswaldo, Bollat Vasquez v. Chad F. Wolf, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security).

Below, our Boston immigration attorney provides a more in-depth explanation of the decision. 

The Case Involves the Migrant Protection Protocols (Remain in Mexico Policy)

In late 2018, the Trump Administration announced the near immediate implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Often known simply as the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, the MPP allows federal immigration authorities to return asylum seekers to Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings. As the immigration process is notoriously slow, the effect of the policy is that vulnerable migrants may be forced to wait near the Mexico border for months, or even longer.  

Stuck Near the Border, Family Members Were in Massachusetts

The plaintiffs in this case are residents of Massachusetts and their family members who were stuck waiting near the United States-Mexico border. All five of the “returned plaintiffs” are natives of Central America who made the trek across Mexico to claim asylum in the United States. They are: 

  • A mother and her young daughter; 
  • A mother and her young son; and
  • A grandmother. 

Unfortunately, as a consequence of the MPP, they have been stuck waiting in dangerous conditions in Mexico while immigration proceedings are ongoing. As an example, the mother and daughter, who are natives of Guatemala, were living in a tent at a migrant camp in the border town of Matamoros. Conditions were described as “squalid” and nearby cartel violence is a serious problem. The COVID-19 outbreak has made the situation even more precarious. 

Decision: Likely to Succeed on the Merits, Vulnerable to Irreparable Harm

In reviewing the case, the Massachusetts federal judge determined that all five migrants were likely to be granted asylum. As their case was more likely than not to succeed on the merits and they were vulnerable to irreparable harm while waiting in Mexico, they were allowed to enter the United States early. To be clear, the decision does not guarantee that the asylum claims will be successful. Still, it is a very big win as vulnerable families are now being reunited in the Commonwealth.  

Call Our Boston, MA Immigration Lawyers for Help With Your Case

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our Massachusetts immigration attorney is a passionate, solutions-driven advocate for clients. If you have questions about asylum claims or any other immigration matter, we can help. For a confidential, comprehensive review of your immigration case, please call us today. We represent clients throughout the region, including in Brookline, Newton, Quincy, Somerville, Concord, Burlington, and Watertown.