« The Weeds

Mexico: America's waiting room

2019-05-03

Dara, Jane, and Matt discuss Dara's fresh reporting on asylum officers' complaints about Trump's "wait in Mexico" policy initiative.

Related reading:

Dara’s piece on asylum officers

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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on business. Unlimited start includes paper free billing without open, select, smartphone agreement, discounts, taxes fees in terms apply five g nationwide available in twenty seven hundred plus cities on most Verizon, five g devices find shelter white band available only in parts of select cities. They re Jane Mckenna, UFO an unfocused outlets debt, let's get tat hello, welcome to the seventh weeds. Only box media podcast network Matthew Place. He is he would change Coastal Dara when there's gotta cool cool scoop this week. Talk about It's about the immigration these it up, but the lights. Let's get some some background this story is already there. We were not exactly breaking news on the past, but this has to do with asylum officers who work for? U S: citizenship and immigration.
Services and my what like like what is that Mary of ice and border patrol. What's his other immigration agency right so when their per annum insecurity was created after nine eleven. They split up what had been the immigration and naturalisation service, which was like the one immigration agency into three parts I'd, the customs and border protection does border stuff ice immigration. Whose enforcement does enforcement in the clinical interior of the? U S and everything regarding legal immigration or what is called immigration benefits like getting immigration status right was, U S chip in immigration services. So if you are, for instance, applying for permanent residency, yet here with you, as you see I s and you go to their offices to do the biometrics appointments which involve fingerprinting and then you go to Virginia and someone
gives you and I had ass. You really virginal pouring into the Jane, is coming from the perspective of having done this for her spouse. Yes, so marriage for marriage applications are their own kind of yes. Yes, if you ve ever use the term green card marriage which the implication that that is somehow easy, you're an idiot that? Yet so so this it's a little more complicated when we're talking about asylum rights, silent by definition is somebody who is all right. In the? U S who is seeking a different legal status than the one they currently have or who is coming to the? U S and doesn't have legal status. So while this is there's like why a process for somebody who is coming the? U S with some other kind of like if you're coming to us on a student visa and then, when you get here, you say hey. I would like to seek asylum that is an area that is a different does, because you know suvs you're only going to be allowed to stay for as long as your visa works, you're gonna have to go back and all that kind of thing
whereas asylum is an expedited, you know you can apply for, green card after very short period of time, that you can get government benefits if you qualify for them, etc. So that's kind of one. but the process by it and what's particularly relevant, given the current lake, unprecedented none, of central american families Large numbers of asylum of asylum seekers coming into the Eu S through Mexico, what's particularly relevant here. process for when you have somebody who's coming into the Eu S without papers. Then, when you know apprehended in presenting themselves at a port says. I am here because I want to seek asylum. What happens then, is that there's a you know you can't just lake it's not just like. Oh you say you want to seek asylum here. Is your asylum application will see you in inner two years for your hearing before a judge in general, like the general process here? Is you have a screening and every that's to determine whether you have a credible fear of persecution in your home country? That screen in our view, is done by a trained asylum officer. Who is supposed to be somebody who, like
understand how to conduct a non adversarial interview to like illicit things that could be discussions of of dramatic or really difficult experiences and who trained in the kinds of things that are required to figure out. You know whether you're being persecuted as part of a specific group and how to talk about that like how to translate the experience a person who doesn't really no american asylum law at all into the legal ease that is required to say like here, is how this person fits into the statue that says you can seek asylum and, presumption here right underlying this. Is that like not that many people would be seeking that is supposed to be like a careful process right, yeah but at the initial screening phase in the prime directive really is in the initial phase. Is that you don't want to return, somebody to a country where there are going to be imperilled offers yet right like it's? That is kind of the bedrock principle.
Asylum law and so, while the kind of virtue this screening in our view, as a pre interview, essential rightly Caprice estimate is that you can say you know why I'm like doing a full on the spot. Yes, you is your asylum, but I can say yes, There is enough of a case here that you have like a significant possibility. They are going to be the you're gonna be well to to make a good case, so you can say yes, I'm passing through. You can now fill out your full asylum application before a judge. What the trumpet minister, the Tribune frustration sees that as the problem right. They see, like these passage rates of you know, like seventy five to eighty percent for credible fears,
meetings and that a law, a much lower percentage of central Americans, ultimately get asylum through a judge and say well. The rest of these people must be life, which is an inference that, like doesn't take into account a lot of things, but that gap is the proper one of the four things that they're trying to Remedy would like all of the stuff there doing right now the kind of checked out one of the number so a hundred asylum claims. Seventy to eighty of them are said to have credible, rare and then out of that group. How many out of that it's like well, it's often something like fifteen to twenty Let me get asylum, but the reason that that's not agreed metric is that once youve like past your pre screening in your in front of a judge, you can say: hey Actually I've talked to a lawyer and they say that I qualify for this other immigration status instead or, like you know the be judge will sit. There will say
you know why I haven't Julian and a half cases on my plate. This is not something that I think it honestly that important to resolve we're gonna administratively closed this cake. Slake there are other things are good for the immigrant that aren't gonna, shoot that, like don't show up if you're just looking at, did you ultimately get asylum granted to you by a judge. So the question of how many of these people are ultimately found are ultimately ordered removed is a different question that we don't have a tremendously good answer to. So that's casino at that's kind of the data, get caution, but one of the ways that the front administration is trying to deal with the gap between the lake seventy to eighty and the fifteen to twenty is that they are doing this thing called the migrant protection protocols or remain in Mexico, where they're saying ok, You ve come into the Eu S. Eve said you want to seek asylum we'd like started your file. We ve, given you a court date you're not going to go back to Mexico to wait for that court day, and you know
on the day of your court hearings in a show up at this port, we're gonna like bus? U n you're gonna, have your court hearing and then you're gonna go back to Mexico again and that's gonna continue until the judge either says yes, you that asylum or no you now have to go back to your home country, Oh they're doing this, based on a weird provision of immigration law that I've literally talk to people who were lake. I s at the time the wet. What at the time that this was enacted the go. I have no idea what this was supposed to do like at his door. Remember it its expanded. There is currently a lawsuit because, of course, there's a lawsuit in the ninth circuit. and a lower court judge said now. You gotta put this on hold that I'd circuit is currently as we speak and like maybe this there will have been a ruling by the time. It goes live letting it remain in effect, while it considers whether to let the lower court ruling stand. Anyway, you may have noticed that, like the kind of weight process doesn't involve the hey, do you need the kind of typical asylum pre screening right people are actually
romantic lease presumed to be able to make asylum claims that escaped right to the judge face, but that's because their being sent back to Mexico. In the meantime, the role that asylum officers play in this and p p thing is, if somebody volunteers to a border agent, hey I'm worried about going back to Mexico, please don't say, me there. Then they get a pre screening earth raining with an asylum officer to determine whether the are more likely than not to be prosecuted, be persecuted if their set back to Mexico. It's a different standard from credible fear. It's a much higher standard, something that asylum officers are used and there are already kind of questions that have been raised by legal experts about like. If you dont announced hey. We're gonna. Send you back to Mexico. Do you have a problem with that? How do we even know to say I'm worried about going back to Mexico, they think they're seeking asylum in the. U S, their worried about persecution in their home country is, like
There are already questions about even how many people get to the asylum officers screening phase, but I got a couple of tips that there was a lot of weird secrecy around this among asylum officers that lake people were not comfortable with the tree. meaning and the asylum seeker even had to talk to you said yeah. We're really really worried that this is kind that this. This is something raising the fire alarm about like this is a worry that this is about vision of a lot of things that were trained to do as professionals? If you are civil servant. You understand how weird this is. If you're not, are you made not understand how, where this is like civil servants? Generally, don't talk to reporters about their jobs? asylum officers in particular, you just don't have much of a public face there really lake They are really really leary and theirs A lot of internal pressure, not too like I, I found out through back channels last
Here when I got you know it kind of an interim here's what you're supposed to do. Meantime, while we figure out what this is ultimately gonna. Look like and posted that memo that, like there was a lot of oh, my gosh that member to that reporter going around so you know this is not aid ill, zero risk thing, but Had several asylum officers talked him, you kind of, as you know, in their function as union members, and it is a labour concern for us. There are not being allowed to do our jobs just a lot of flake really work, worrisome stuff about people who are being trained as professionals to you know, to judge when someone is being persecuted because of their you know, ethnicity or because of their because there, like a member of a region, our group either not Do you know not having the evidence to lake on paper to make that claim, because their not being allowed to like make the legal arguments and the inferences that they're usually allowed to make
or being straight up told by headquarters. No, we don't think disqualifies you have to you know you have to write on the form that this person is safe. So my question here, I kind of want to back up a little bit and talk a little bit about what are the impacts of these policies. My understanding of how asylum has worked has been in like very specific cases, for instance people fleeing Antioch, Djibouti Laws and the Gambia with whom I have spoken in in the olden days. When I worked a lot on eligibility rights who were API, The idea of your what was considered a credible, credible fear, a credible threat, was very specific to those yeah killer environments, and so I kind of want to get a look back up a little bit to talk about. Ok, how does this shift the experience that asylum seekers will endure, where be there's been a lot of talk in kind of far right media about how, like oh asylum seekers, are being coached?
by their attorneys, which, if any one has ever had an attorney for any of these purposes. You know that it's not coaching to have an attorney. Tell you. Ok here is, what's going to happen, here's what they're going to ask you, because that's just how you're a good attorney in these cases, but I don't want to hear from you like how does this shift? What the experiences of asylum seekers is, we're all going to look like right. I mean the coach thing gets it like. It gets on my nerves because, frankly, if you talk to asylum seekers, they don't have as much understand of white asylum is, as you would as late as cogent, like I've talked to people who are seeking asylum, who thought that, because they had relatives in the? U S, they are going to get asylum like. That is not Oh, how it works to the car Jerry, if anything, the saying the Erika
because you have a relative in the. U S is gonna, be used to indicate that you'd art that your rang, because for other reasons so like it's, the the information ecosystem the people have is like- and this is a hobbyhorse of mine. So if you listen to this early August, probably aware of it like it's a really, big Harry question, but you re it's in the absence of some. telling you here is what they're going to ask. It's really really hard to offer up information that happens to check the right back. Right and so for one thing, people dont have a lot of. Sperience in Mexico like a lot of the people coming up now are coming through bus routes where, like they ve only spent a few days in Mexico, they don't necessarily know what it would be like to spend weeks in Mexico fright and even those who have had negative experiences lake. One of the thing
that. I heard from a bunch of asylum officers was that you know people had had had lake had expired as with cartels during their journey up through Mexico. But when asked because you know you can't like that- is not sufficient to be to say, ok you're endanger you have to establish that the government of the country like would refuse to protect EU. So when there ass, Jake. Okay, so do you think the mexican police would be able to lake keep you safely like? I don't know that they have no experiences Rask Info, is they can't say like no, whereas if they had had more experience in Mexico and talk to people. They probably would know things like lots of them. You know of many of the Mexican. police are in league with the cartels or brain, and that was not expertise. That's expertise that asylum officers are typically train to have because their use to looking into ok in this particular case here is the particular relevant country, like generally called seo,
free of origin in from ran that, like, I know that I can bring to bear to assess the n o. The credibility and seriousness of this claim can use my kind of case right up to say, hey, given what I was told by this person and what I know of of the facts on the ground and what I know of the law. I mean a breed those three together and make an assessment. They can there only using one of those strands in this. It's a very it's a much more cursory thing, and it's a higher standard they have to me, So basically there is this lake. You know infuriates more likely than not standards that you have to get like fifty one percent probability standard, but v only thing they have to go on with that is what this individual asylum seeker is saying about, a country that they don't really know which is going to be incredibly complicated, where, if you're going based on country of origin and your understanding is okay, this has the let's say:
the reason that the asylum is being sought it or are they arguing that that it needs to come from the government level? So, for example, there are thereby numerous stories about trans people who are attempting get asylum in the United States, because their fury their fleeing discrimination and abject violence in countries that technically do not have say like an anti trans law on the books or laws that basically saying like? Yes, you should absolutely discriminate against this group of people, but that still taking place anyway. I am thinking, for example, of Brazil, where kind of eight and the new rise of the far right has really imperilled Elijah, BT, Brazilians and so some are beginning to seek asylum elsewhere, but because the government you just double checking because the government of Brazil does not have a lake trans people are bad and should
too bad prison like because they don't have that one. The books is from the argument of this. These can new regulations with that essentially be like well you're, not inadequate danger because isn't coming from the government level, so I won't I mean I want to be clear out like what this applies to right. This is just for people who are coming into the Eu S from Mexico who aren't mexican, who are from other countries where hope ass. I M so, unlike and it's not like life doesn't have. The euro is a waiting room. Why my power right leg it it is, but it's only for some brimful right and it's not it's still not clear how exactly there's their picking who is getting sent back to it Mexico who isn't it's not for everybody in theory, extreme government is like, doesn't want everyone? getting sent back and bread kit and they can't be sent back without the consent of the medicine garment insofar as they just be waiting bridges alike were currently dealing with hundreds of weak its, it probably would increase if it were allowed to expand.
Along the entire border but lake its limit? It's just not we don't know if it's targeted, but that aside, like yeah there, there really complicated questions here of what you know that what it looks like for a government to be unwilling or unable is the legal term draft act. Somebody there are also really complicated questions about Non state persecution which, like you know, we ve. I think gone into here in the past. Like a lot of these are claims about you know, cartels or gangs or other non state actors that have a lot of power and there are really complicated issues in asylum law of when that counts as persecution when it does it so like its yet. These are not super easy claims to assess, but there being no at trying set them in like a forty minute interview where you aren't allowed to bring things you know to bear is like a really it's a really big
in the other part of this is even when people think that they are dealing with someone who's made a persuasive case slake. In some cases there getting told by you note every in theory, every screening interview is reviewed by a supervisor in practice like not everything. This supervisor isn't like standing there on the spot, doing review but like that stand, As for this. Yes, the view the supervisor is like right, they're doing kind of a spot check before the decision is finalized, but I was also here the stories of Lake Headquarters Nebo Lee sending back these report saying we dont think this rises to the standard. You can't say that this person passes the screening and like getting
to specifics about like well the they said that they were kidnapped by the cartels, but the cartels didn't name the group that you said they were being persecuted on behalf of and therefore that doesn't count lay at that's weird difference between what kind of eight India individualised experience of persecution versus a group. Experience of this of persecution, and that's who that's complicate grandma Here- love us like a break your cousin. I then I want again to some of that that legal world, It feels like you, don't even have hours in the day to get everything done, might because you're missing out on three of them were those two hours cup. I we fell into a deep, dark abyss that opens up when we switch between working at those
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So it is at a very high level right. It seemed like the basic issue is that american law, as it exists, makes provision for people to make asylum click yes and Donald Trump does not think that it should write that, like Dumb Donald Trump, like stated view, is that the country is fall, that we don't need more people from shithole countries, etc, etc. Oh I'm com to have an income and president who wants american public policy to be something other than what the legal status I would also note, though, just to try men that from the U N immigration restriction aside, they ve there has been a lot of criticism of even that, because, while simultaneously arguing that the country is full, there's been an expense in expansion argued of each one be visas. So you
fall is a real relative terms, these aids to rent. But let me just say it's tvs, studious used to say, like this very banal thing that happens in American to express you, have a president who has strong feelings about public policy, but what the law says is different from what he wants the law to say this habit of Barack Obama all the time having Georgia, we Bush all the time is just how our constitutional system works, then, when the present in that situation typically does, is they both? Like try to persuade Congress, but they also tried alike they like pour over the? U S, code and they'd like try to come up with. What can we do right, and you come up with some staff, and then he get sued on the other side, and you know we ve seen than ever. It is. This is basic matters just given us, the twenty nineteen version of how a bill becomes a lively as let the executive makes policy. The judicial branch approves the policy or fails to offer or like really are enjoying the policy and the
It is late of branch toodles its end, and this is where I may. I think this is very relevant, because this whole Romanian Mexico thing right. This is basically tuna, Stephen Miller. Somebody is trying to come up with a loophole inside what he sees as a loophole in american law, which is that you get to hang out in the it states for acts years? While you wait for your hearing and ensuring that two year period, anything could have right and so like he doesn't like that. So it would be better if you had to wait in Mexico. Rightly, if you have scanned in
Mexico and do not return to finish your asylum proceedings. That is like no skin off the. U S, governments note rise in interest, be because of particular that, like the policy makers, the little hare about whether or not people with valid asylum claims get in like this is not a concern of theirs but critically. It is a concern of this batch right, and this is why the question of what the asylum officers say is happening is important right, because if you are a judge, looking at this right, when the Justice Department lawyer show up right, they're gonna give asked a question like isn't it all? Just like Iglesias laid out
air that, like the president's tweeting about how the country is fall and so he's trying to deny valid asylum claims and the GEO jailers give me no. No, no, no, no, no said as much more interesting hearing than the hearing that actually heighten the Jackson, but you don't. We also slightly more informed about actual immigration law than the hearing that women and we we ve, had now Supreme Court rulings right that, like tweets, don't count right and stuff I mean yes, is it? Is it so they'll come and say? No, no! Luck, guys! Look! I don't care what His tweeted, we are really just trying to design a policy here that is going to it's called the migrant protect. in Provence connections right now. I don't know why you, Mexico, we are trying to make this work. We really want people with valid claims. Have their claims made. We want everybody be safe, Bob I so An important piece of evidence on the other side is like what do the asylum officer say is actually happen so that
I am not sure that you understand just how deep into the weeds you invited me to go on the enjoyment of non refinement. And- U S asylum law. Absenteeism we, the national coherent reaction or we OJ lawyers. Not the Deirdre lawyers in your head, who are more interesting arguments are arguing is that they don't technically have. an EU legal obligation to make sure that people aren't gonna, be endangered Mexico, because what the statute says is that you cannot return somebody. To their home country if they be per if they be persecuted there. So as long as Mexico is giving them an assurance that they're not gonna, turn around and deport them back to Honduras, then there that they ve checked that box sufficiently. The argument it did ACL you is making, president is that there are minimal protections for lake Nonreferral that are enshrined in regulation for, like you, should
these have an interview where there can be a lawyer. They are right. There should be like a standard that is lower than the more likely than not standard, and that the you know that if they do in fact, vs does in fact have an obligation to be doing something to make sure that people are unsafe and Mexico, but late, because this is a because the? U S, Fiscal position is this is something having any kind of screening interview where there is any possibility of. You will be allowed to stay in the? U S like probably detained by allowed to stay in the. U S is something we are doing out of the goodness of our hearts generally as long as we're not sending you to Guatemala. Yes, we in principle we can do whatever we want right. We can send you ought to dick estate. Well, it's been theirs ain't. It
and they can send them back to wait in Mexico, because the statute says that can write that, like we're still allowing your asylum claim to go forward your fight, which is basically the argument that I've had. You know in kind of my previous conversations with damage US officials about this programme. Men like yes, of course, there's going to gap between what asylum officers are used to and what we're doing here, because what we're doing is there it's a blank slate like we do not have to follow the existing regulations, because this is a different thing he claims that the asylum officers are making, though, are the lake there it's not just that the fair being asked to meet a standard that they think is like unreasonably high. It's that the public argument that and asylum officers are making assessments is, is wrong and that it is a broader challenge, to be discretion that they have as asylum officers which gets into like. If you
member of the arguments over immigration during the Obama era, there was a lot of consternation from ice agents about. We think that The Obama administration is telling us how to do our jobs and that their wrong right that we need to have the kind of logic to decide who is important to go after that. We think it is important to go after people just because there in the? U S illegally and we have enough yet like and we found them and the trouble bomb administration is getting in the way of us doing our jobs. By telling us we can't do that. Something similar. Now happening on the asylum site, with what the with what these asylum are sold me as late. We are trained to be the people who make this assessment on behalf of the government political considerations appear to be getting in the way of us doing our jobs and therefore there
a violation of our role in the system, so my question just kind of going for that point is we. You made the comparison to kind of ice agents under the Obama administration, but there is an understanding that if an administration has priority like, for instance, if they have prioritized eight specific emphasis here- oh if, let's say in the post trump future that will someday exist is the understanding that this could entirely be.
that we could go. We could return to kind of the pre Trump version of asylum or is ill how're how're amid administrations, the constant yoke flows and changes of asylum, the understandings of asylum law how're those likely to change. If there were a few each year, a hypothetical democratic present or someone else, your power, those relationships shift as a result of these changing administrations- pigs, it seems yo if I'm an asylum seeker and I'm basically to you if its twenty nineteen am, I just going to be kicking it in Northern Mexico until
hypothetically January, twenty twenty one and then giving us another shot. I think the there there is a lot of their about kind of the institutional cultures of various government agencies that I think is away more than we could tackle and even a season of pod casts. But what I want to stress with the end of your question and lake and people to essentially have a super nuanced understanding of why what the policy situation on the ground is like. We know that the fact of Donald Trump coming into office appears to have deter people from coming to the United States for a few once that didn't necessarily last, unlike the fact of Donald Trump continuing to threaten to shut down the border, Et Cetera, isn't stopping people for coming animated. What really is causing people to try to get over sooner yeah I've. I've heard that argument. I don't know that we have the facts to support it, but, like it's, an open question by people are making assessments,
They may not be assessing the risk of view of what's in the U S accurately, but there, making the assessment that no matter, if it, despite Donald Trump being in office, it is worth it to try to come here and like that is you know I that's important both because it means If you change the like the argument that people who are not Donald Trump, who are not even Miller in the trunk administration, make is, if you pull Ex wincey lovers, you move incentives to come to the United States. You will change that decision, making calculus and people because they don't understand. You know at the end, people who currently underestimate the risk will end up safer by it, also kind of because I dont think we're gonna see people. Not, certainly because there remain inactive. Think has again it's not even a universal program right like there's a non zero chanced. Don't get that you don't get returned Oh, I would not overstate the kind of effective this particular thing on migration flows. I think a lot of things
the rapid ministration is doing do have a deterrent component to them. This one does not it's very much about preventing people from absconding bite. the question of like what this does for asylum law and policy down there. Is it it's a good one because of the you know like people in government eagerly, don't necessarily have to stick around forever right this is it is not new to anybody has been following like government under Trump that a lot of long time, civil servants are extremely frustrated with what they are being or what they are not doing or who is above them or that kind of thing, and that there is a substantial turnover in the federal government. We talked about this during the shut today ever get around to firing the head of? U S. Ear
No, no! No! I don't want anything I want have not had an idea. Is still there and frankly and frankly, this is actually a lot of the. We know that a lot of the conflict between him and the White House is that the White House thinks that he should be doing more to tell his asylum officers. You can't let us many people through their credible fee. Worker, innings and he's saying deregulation say what they say. So this is an interesting it's it's a win go into why it could I ve? No, the people why talk too are worried that, like if replace ahead of you ass the eye ass with somebody who doesn't have aid. The regulation say what they say: attitude that this kind of what the interference their running into, or they ve they get. They assume their running into asking on empty way is like it's gonna become that's what everything's gonna be not just gonna. Be this one programme, bad. You know the lot of the asylum core right.
You- and I talk to some people who are very well. You ve been there for a while, and some people have not unlike there is a lot of yeah. What the hell are we doing here, you know they're, just there is a lot of kind of moral injury to people who are necessarily bleeding hearts lake. I it's It's really easy to assume that if you're going to do this, that you must be some kind of like deep state like ours. Get everybody into the country, because I feel bad for them, like their civil servants, they're doing their jobs, understand when somebody is like, probably lying to them in the end that doesn't necessarily rise to, though, when someone doesn't rise at the level of you should be allowed to stay in the country by. They think that this is a violation of the kinds of things at their asked to lick of the discussion that we still have the training that they're supposed to have and no it's it's not very easy to go to work every day when you worry that your name is on a form that represents what you feel it
violation of international law. Let's, let's take a break here, then I want to ask you some some naive questions. Yea, this episode is brought to you by fender. Football is back and the best bet you can make is downloading the fan dual sports book app. It doesn't matter if new to gambling or an old pro fan? Dual has something for everyone and, as an official sports betting partner of the NFL, you know you're, better, safe, there's also never been a better time to use fan do because right now you'll, get up to one thousand dollars back if your first, but doesn't when you can even too the small wager into a big payday with the same game parlay that just sign up with a promo code Spotify place. Your first bet risk free on fan. Dual sports book download fan dual today, twenty one, and present in Pennsylvania. First, online real money wager only refund
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density, and so the entire prospect of all this transit through Mexico of people allegedly being persecuted in Guatemala. Honduras is just per se fishy method. It's like income see viable that a person fleeing persecution from Guatemala could also be persecuted? Mexico, but that, as a rule, a person, you can think of a million good reasons why someone might prefer to live in the United States than in Mexico, but that, if specifically, the issue is you are being persecuted by the government of your country, which has not Mexico, and you are now in Mexico that, like there, should be a strong presumption that, like Europe, flight from persecution? Is that yes, I mean. I think that that is, that is its.
Leave the Trump administrations argument. It's why these standard is so high, and it's why you have to volunteer the you're worried about like it's. Why you're not being asked Are you worried about being returned to Mexico, because this privilege, the presumption, is, if you're just like worried that it's not safe there, that there is high crime rate like that? Is that's not a sufficient right? That's not that's. On a person Houston claim that is not a you do not have you know, worried about having a particular worry about the you're to be tortured. I, if you go back
does go to earlier point that, like if you you haven't been in Mexico for all that terribly long, so how the fuck would you know you, you're eligibility, migrant or persons fleeing from M S, thirteen or another a cartel in Colombia, or something like that? How we drew on earth? No, that, yes, this young I'm way safer in Baja or way safer in specific areas of Mexico. Then I would be back there because you just got there yet That is even it's it's. That is a bare consideration by visa the assumption underline a lot of this is that many of these people have now and governmental persecution clicks railway, so that is both a well. That means that their asylum, some are probably on the bubble anyway, by the flip side.
That is that a non governmental persecutor doesn't isn't necessarily going to stop at the border of Mexico and Guatemala right, like the last time, I was in Tijuana in February. A single asylum seeker. I talk to set at one point during story, and then, when I was in Tibet, Tula in Mexico, waiting for my temporary transit visa come up here saw a member of the group that was persecuting me and leg. I believe they didn't literally say like a member of the group that was persecuting me but, like they said you like, I saw one of those people like. I saw one of the people who threaten me. that kind of thing, and yet when everyone is saying something like that disliked by the fourth or fifth time you start having something going off in your head like this is an interesting consistency. That also happens to answer a question Why isn't Mexico safe for you that may be, is a strategically beneficial thing to talk about that May or may not be true but like. It is also true
there- are such huge numbers of central Americans going through Mexico right now. That, like it is not implausible, in a very large group of people, for exactly the same reasons that conservatives in the? U S are concerned about criminal. gang members sneaking through in these large groups. The people could be doing that in Mexico. By this I mean I know, but by the same token writer I mean Emma's thirteen and the key whatever these these are active in the United States, where they give. You have been like targeted for death by Emma's thirteen in some incredibly specific way. It's not like going to Long Island or Northern Virginia is
offer you incredibly safe here when I was thirteen is not as well the the. U S, branches of S, thirteen are even as well coordinated with each other is all that my dress with a salvadoran unless thirteen, but also there is the understanding that, like YO, the police Department of Fair, Fax Virginia, is not working hand in glove with Emma There I mean hypothermic, this seems very busy, a very fuzzy continuum. To just feeling TAT genome immigration policy. Why don't we just the general point that, like the standard of living in the United States, is higher than the standard of living in Mexico, which in turn is higher than the standard of living in Guatemala? There are a number of good reasons to want to make these northern moves, but they seem Fear disconnected to me from a traditional understanding of what it means to be fleeing persecution,
yeah you're right. The traditional understanding of asylum is very obviously a post holocaust understand right. It is the Leave that government will say we are doing. X y and Z to a b and c groups because their bad and it, therefore you will be able you say as a member of a b and c groups, I am in danger of X Y, see happening to me. If I go back to my home country, and the end of this has been he's for several decades now like that, doesn't apply to states that dont have a strong central government that has full and undisputed control over what territory it doesn't apply to states where you know there is corruption, to the extent that the de facto controlling entity in any given neighbourhood is not the government, it doesn't apply to groups that could be persecuted, enow Bible,
you of lake. Being you know I, I guess an easy example of particular social group, which is the kind of elastic clause of asylum law is like, is, is profession right leg there were a bunch of in the ass decade, there were a bunch of journalists from Mexico who would claim asylum in the United States. Think as a journalist, I am being persecuted. Like yeah, there's a pretty good argument there you are being target because you are a journalist not because of who you are individually, and so the concept of persecution is just, alas, big enough to overlap with the current flow of migration that is absent lately kind of compelled, if not coerced right, that lake people are leaving Guatemala Honduras, because they do not feel they can survive if they stayed. You know like end that gets into ok. What's the when you some
leaving primarily because of poverty, and primarily because of violence, ruinous buddy, leaving primarily because of the government, oh oppression because of their political opinion, and primarily because of violence like it's really really hard to tease all the stuff. Out of me, we're seeing more more guatemalans are arriving at the. U S, Mexico border than were in the fifties when they had a coup in a civil war, ended genocide. Yeah I mean it's not like the question of. If so many more people are leaving now, why weren't more people leaving fifty the girl leg, asylum claims are supposed to be like individual. Not, but there is it's a weird thing, where no is going to leave a country unless they, unless it hits a particular threshold of like on except ability. But you don't want. create a situation in which the only Well, who are allowed to seek asylum, are people who can demonstrate. I would have had a perfectly fine
life in my home country, except that the government, or accept that this prosecutor right leg? You don't because a lot of people who alone are being persecuted, wouldn't necessarily had permanently fine lives. Otherwise, so you don't the kind of raise the standard for, if there's all when economic need consideration than human emulating silo easy. It's about the the the Mexico verses? U S! ah gay nexus here right because, like ok, I don't know I've been to mexico- is poor
than the United States, it has a higher crime rate. If you have relatives who are from Central America, it's actually a fairly likely that you might have relatives in the United States rather than in Mexico like this. Is that this, let's have good reasons that a person who has to flee anything back to the Holocaust and out right, I mean wouldn't want when Jews were were trying to get out of of Germany before became complaint possible right. Typically, they would wanted to go to the United States rate. Had a large diaspora was a good place to be all things considered, but your desperate to leave persecution and Germany right. If you can manage to get into the Dominican Republic or Argentina or wherever you you, you take it right and it was great difficulty in getting in any way. Yes, but if you could get in somewhere, you were now not Nazi control, Germany right and so, if somebody was making an application at a jewish
of Egypt in the early thirties, not from Germany, to the United States, but from Argent Tina to the United States. Right, like you would not be saying like, I don't understand why you left Germany right but, like I don't understand why we have a specific obligation to let you in now just because, like there's some problems in the country, yeah. I did like. We were initially interested in the extraordinary circumstances that lead you to Your harm bowling now you're, not in your home, so there there two provisions in: U S law that are supposed to address this, and neither one of them is in place at present in the one we're talking about the the M p p programme. One is that the Eu S could do with Mexico, but it's done with Canada and sign a safe third country agreements. That says, as far as we are concerned, this is a perfectly ok place for people too
asylum. Therefore, if you come through one of veto, if you come through, one of the two countries that is a signatory to this agreement and apply for asylum in the other. One they're gonna send you back to the first two to the prior country, Ireland, as they like you. You know it's like he owns can try to make their way. We want real yeah. This is actually a big if it was certain for a while and Canada Big Domestic, like there has been a real uptake and people who have made claims that they are in danger in the United States was like they are not enough there like statutorily in a really really Turkey physician, demonstrating that, like no really this country that you say is safe is not safe. For Mexico won't sign that Mexico is, as a matter of fact, the way that Mexico's kind of blown was blowing smoke when it. When details of this plan of that migrant protection protocols leaked last fall as we would ever do anything like that. We ve said we're not gonna, sign a safe third country agreements so
they ve got. His position is that Mexico is an unsafe place to be flexible position is that it will visit this gets into a kind of the other. The other thing that I am that I wanted to say going back to lake. You know how likely is it that someone's actually mean to enter in Mexico is met, it always in a really difficult domestic position right now, our where they are having their having to figure out as it polity their attitude towards central american migrants, because they are kind of on the cusp of being a receiving country more than ascending country and obviously a transit country. At present, there are real, there's like Simum obviously, a desire to have central american labour in some places and some really strong, localised political backlash especially in border areas like what the hell are all of Central Americans doing up here. There are racial Paul,
six involved. It is not a coincidence that there's a lot more hostility and be lessened digital northern parts of Mexico towards them. Americans than in the more indigenous southern parts. So it's really. There is a good argument that, like Mexico, doesn't necessarily want all of central inflated. You know whatever population. Of whatever percentage of the population of Guatemala. Honduras is currently leaving like. Doesn't want necessarily want all of in Mexico, just wherever it tight kind of want to be able to recruit them too, like Southern Mexico Tino to two rather like a once feels like develops over in Mexico so that they could stay, there wants to be able to have them in specific places. In the north, but it still trying to figure out how to do that right. It doesn't necessarily have the kind of state capacity, and so you know, the mexican government under Andras Manuel Louis Oda over the door has kind of later between we're gonna give everybody visas because its we want them to be safe. We're around everybody up and keep them from going
further north because we don't want them going to the United States. So it's like it's been really frightened, really weird and so the quest and of whether being a central american migrants in Mexico makes you a targeted and persecuted group is kind of an open one and that something that you know it is something that the two I dont and I'm not even sure, permitted under the peace, but like a couple some of I talked about up like we are by virtue of sending these people back to a country where I know there is like a lot of auntie migrants sentiment. We're police officers will sometimes like there've, been a couple of reports of police officers like arresting Lgbtq migrants. In Tijuana and, like you know, keeping them in jail and abusing them where we know it were. Criminals will target migrants because they don't have,
average and they know the police are necessarily protect them like. There is an argument that, by sending more of these people into this country, the- U S is helping to create a particular social group that, in theory, should qualify for asylum That is an argument that is not obviously legit. Face you would want alike. Have it vanished? some kind of policy making process, but it's it's definitely. Part of the concern that asylum officers are thinking about his lake, given what we know about me The co right now can we really say that, just by virtue of being a central american migrant who is not allowed to leave the country of Mexico that were not
going to let the send people back to persecution yeah. That's I'm really struck by the difference between kind of the intellect individual experiences of persecution versus group experiences of persecution and how those group expanses of Persia persecution, can Melvin change, and but I want to get back this idea of asylum seeking is still an you brought up the point that this is largely a remnant of your holocaust survivors, and so I'm thinking about specific groups like, for instance, like Jehovah's witnesses in Russia, or that there are specific groups experiencing those specific forms of persecution and countries around the world. But then you do you get to that. The cut the question of like does it have to be America? Does it have to be like? What is it here and how would
then you're you're asking asylum officers to answer these questions when policy and Congress seem unable to, and that seems bad yeah I mean there are two really really big questions that I think you know that the maybe deserve to be revisited in a like, postpone, halt. Holocaust context, rightly now that we ve seen now of it The global situation is not what it was in. Nineteen forty five and we ve had this regime in a place like a do. We think that the classical categories of asylum, that there is a very important clearly brightly indifference between the classical categories of asylum law and, like other basis on which groups could be persuaded, are targeted and be. How do we feel about how'd? You like individual
holidays feel about their individual obligation to take those people and for the U S is historically been much more willing to say it is part of our national identity that we take people in who would be in danger other places where they are obviously under Trump. No longer that the problem is no one else is either right, like Canada got some credit under Trudeau in like twenty sixteen twenty seventeen for taking in a lot of Syria but the canadian immigration system, as you will remember, if you listen to alive weeds from, I think, fall of twenty seventeen. it's a lot more flexible than the Eu S system and like the inner Trudeau government has like changing. So I decided it needs to emphasise different kinds of emigrants. Other account he's in our european countries, certainly aren't stepping up, as they are the the the phenomenon of having an asylum crisis and therefore becoming less amenable to humanitarian flows generally or a refugee. Resettlement, in particular, is something like is not just a? U S problems all right now
they really are questions of okay, so Donald Trump, will occasionally like get up in front of international audiences and say that there is a regional responsibility to take care of migrants. And then in the U S conduct, so they all they need to stay where they are and make their countries greater greatly. But it is a question of who is obligated and whether, for example, the? U S does have a regional obligation to central american migrants that it might not have to Syria, migrants or whether, when we say regional, what we really mean, as they should stay, where, where other people speak, spanish, even though that's not the understanding that, like you know, nor Mexicans have a rather central Americans are part of their culture or an honeybee. There's this geographical and then there's ethnic cultural considerations read so that like, for example in Spain, right a lot of the discourse there. is what we had all these immigrants in the arts from Latin America. That was fine
Now we have all these northern Africa Muslims arriving and that's really back and when you see the same thing in Germany and in other countries where there are basically they decided is it that there are going to pay north african countries to care for their by any measures. That happens to be the case right that Spain is close to Muslim North Africa and very far away from Latin America, even though Obviously I mean there is a significant cultural difference between Guatemala in Spain, but in many ways a a lower one. They are speaking with the spanish speaking. Catholics at the United States is close to Latin America, but you know has I was a kid stayed internal political discourse of what our cultural relationship to it to those countries ray weddings and now so does Mexico and like this is why it so ready very interesting that the particular government it of MAX it like an low, didn't get elected a talking about it, grace in one way or the other right
and now he is government, is in a very tricky position, as this becomes a salient topic of Mexicans. like a super supercilious topic of mexican politics kind of for the first time- and I guess if I was to try to adopt More high minded and far sighted version of the Trump world view I feel like they are risking sort of like crushing the Mexican polity in a way that is going to produce a from their point of view, much worse. Migration yesterday waged in here, and I would immediately if we try to think about the demographics, the United States and Latin America and the fifty year. Trajectory of this whole thing right like making
Mexico would not be a failed state seems like should be like a high priority right and creating a situation where there being like crushed by population flows in both directions as the? U S tries to like repelled people back into their seems of sub optimal. I don't like I, I feel like you wanna like who actually try to really work. This out on a government to government level in some way, that's gonna be that such suddenly the Mexicans can actually do re eminent if you like. This is this kind of the conclusion we can draw on every weeds episode about this. Like this kind of regional issues, like you know, I've I've kind of heard something similar on the on the fish They concern with regard to the central american countries. we're leaving Lake We allow all these large numbers of people to leave
and are our response to that crisis is well, they can just stay in the? U s instead, what does that, due to the long term trajectory of countries unlike there is a kind of blunt, not super knowledgeable about how law works. Trompe inversion of that argument, which is you, should stop people from leaving and there's a better version of that argument, which Lake means Oak so we stop people from coming, but we also invest more in foreign aid re lake. We do more things to help build up an axe. All in all, to address the problems that are making people feel they need to leave, or we work with Mexico on a humanitarian basis to Lake expand their refugee
No they're refugee and asylum system. We like make sure that they are not. We expand their state capacity so that, instead of vacillating between crackdowns and no crackdowns they're doing more to actually, you know entice people to come to the places where they want migrants to com, etc, etc. Jelly there's a version of that, this as a regional policy issue, rather than a as long as they're. Not in U S territory than were ok, but like that's. The entire premise of the Emperor p programme is like the important thing is that they not beyond? U s soil, I well. The important thing is that you keep us into a pike ass out there. So I thank thanks. I'm body a blessing thanks, I dare and Jane and as always to
Our producer, Jeff, gout and weeds return on Tuesday, accessible, affordable broadband hubs coming he's reached their american dream for students. Lectures on a Chavez means rising above the poverty line becoming valedictorian of international high school at Langley Park, and thanks to access from eighteen t can help these dreams turning turn into reality. That's my eighteen tease me two billion dollar three year. Commitment to help close the digital divide to more Americans have a chance to succeed, to learn more http dot com, slash connecting communities.
Transcript generated on 2021-09-11.