, 21 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
1/ THREAD: New details on the Trump #remaininmexico #asylum plan out now, and it's so much worse than I was expecting. This is an illegal, immoral, unconscionable human rights disaster in the making. Let's talk about what this is and how it's going to get people killed.
2/ Context: Asylum seekers in Tijuana and other border towns are being "metered" by an illegal system which requires them to take numbers on a list and wait their turn (sometimes months) to lawfully enter the US to seek asylum. This is already bad enough.

3/ Even before Trump, the nativist right was obsessed with the idea of making #CentralAmerican asylum seekers wait outside the US for the many years that it can often take to get these cases to a final hearing. This administration was all too willing to give it a try.
4/ I've been to Tijuana twice now to meet members of the #migrantcaravan while volunteering with @AlOtroLado_Org. Life is not easy for them there. They are at significant risk of extortion & kidnapping from cartels as well as violence from the gangs they were fleeing.
5/ The wait in Tijuana has already killed at least two kids, one of whom I met and spent an afternoon with in my first visit. You can read his story in the thread below.

6/ Under the current system, asylum seekers are detained, processed, and given a "credible fear" interview. They are released under supervision to US sponsors (usually family) pending a final hearing in #immigrationcourt if they pass it, & deported to if they don't. Not anymore.
7/ N.B.: Asylum applicants are at least five times more likely to win their cases with attorneys. Being released into the US until they can return to court to present their full claims gives them the chance to find lawyers and fully prepare and document their cases.
8/ The new #RemaininMexico plan would do the intake on US soil, and then immediately return the asylum seekers to await... something. DHS has indicated that this would both be televideo hearings from a site in Mexico AND permission to return to the US for hearings. It's a mess.
9/ (And just to add to the chaos, it's not at all clear that the Mexican government is on board with any of this and/or understands it to be the same thing that the Trump administration is planning on, but that may be another thread.)
10/ Today's memo outlines the procedure for an entirely new kind of interview with an asylum officer entirely apart from the usual threshold screening interview to determine "credible fear" of return. This employs (for some reason) a MUCH higher "more likely than not" standard.
11/ This new interview is the only safe harbor from being returned to Mexico to wait out asylum proceedings. It will be conducted under a tough legal standard, with massive consequences.

All around very much the kind of thing you'll want a lawyer for.

So, about that:
12/ Even if an asylum officer determines that it is more likely than not that an asylum applicant would be harmed in Mexico, this decision can be overruled for pretty much any reason by a supervisor. This decision does not have to be justified, and may not be reviewed.
13/ #ImmigrationCourt proceedings can take many years to conclude. Although asylum applicants would be able to wait anywhere in Mexico they were able to stay, it is most likely that they will settle in and around border towns like Tijuana so that they don't risk missing hearings.
14/ When I say that the #MPP #RemaininMexico policy will get people killed, this is exactly what I mean. They are unwanted strangers, easy targets for cartels. The danger is real, & about to become worse.

This sweet kid was just one victim we know of. There will be many more
15/ ALSO: Mexico has been granting "humanitarian visas" allow migrants to stay & work while they wait. A govt official I met in Tijuana last week was clear that they will then be encouraged to apply for residency. This could end their US asylum claims before they're even filed.
16/ This will likely be considered "firm resettlement," which can kill a good asylum claim. (The official also told me of her belief that migrants were good for Tijuana's economy because they could work in the local "maquilladoras"--hard labor often a step up from sweatshops.)
17/ This policy will inevitably cause many desperate people to cross the border illegally. But that's a feature, not a bug.

Trump knows that illegal crossings are at historic lows. But he wants his wall, and he needs something that looks like a national emergency to get it.
18/ If you're interested in the legal details of the arbitrary new standard DHS has invented to apply to this thing it is clearly just making up as it goes along @TomJawetz has the goods

19/ If you want to help the ONLY organization providing legal assistance on the ground to asylum seekers in Tijuana, please consider a donation of whatever you can to my heroes at @AlOtroLado_Org

20/ If you actually just read that entire thread and need a break--why yes, I do have a Soundcloud and I'd be happy to share some relaxing piano music for that building tension headache. That's just why I recorded it.

21/ Oh, and: If you have ever said that immigrants should "get in line" and/or "do things the right way," you should be as angry as I am about this. It's designed to punish & immiserate people who are doing exactly that, or at least at best to wear them down until they give up.
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