East County Press Service

Nov. 12, 2021 (San Diego) – A coalition of legal groups representing asylum seekers say dozens of urgent humanitarian parole applications have been ignored for weeks while others have been denied without adequate explanation. Applicants include individuals and families with life-threatening medical conditions.

This week, the ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties, the Jewish Family Service of San Diego, the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, the Transgender Law Center and Al Otro Lado filed an administrative complaint asking the Office of the Inspector General of Department of Homeland Security to investigate and recommend practices regarding the failure of US Customs and Border Protection to deal in a timely manner on these urgent humanitarian parole requests.

Some of the pending cases include:

  • An application filed on behalf of a family of three, which includes a three-year-old who has urgent medical needs due to epilepsy and frequent seizures caused by the disease;
  • An application filed on behalf of a family of five, including a baby in need of urgent medical attention due to macrocephaly, intracranial hypertension, epilepsy and fluid in the brain; and
  • An application filed on behalf of a gay man living with HIV who does not have access to essential drugs and treatments for this disease and other health problems, including high blood pressure, anxiety and extreme depression. After fleeing persecution in his home country to seek asylum in the United States, he was forced to wait in Mexico where he continues to face threats to his safety and well-being.

People fleeing persecution and violence have a legal and human right to seek asylum in the United States. However, by using policies such as Title 42 and the Remain in Mexico program, the federal government effectively ended the asylum process. The United States Supreme Court upheld the Trump administration’s stay in Mexico policy and quashed the Biden administration’s efforts to allow applications to wait for hearings in the United States.

As a result, the humanitarian parole application process managed by CBP is the only means by which vulnerable people can access protection in the United States through the southern border. By failing to process or summarily denying humanitarian parole applications, CBP has virtually closed even this narrow path to protection, advocates say.

Monika Y. Langarica, Immigrant Rights Lawyer at ACLU, said: “People with urgent humanitarian needs have the right to seek assistance under United States law. These protections are especially important for people fleeing violence and persecution. At a minimum, CBP must seriously consider humanitarian parole applications, which by definition are urgent and the only remaining path to safety in the United States across the southern border. “

Kate Clark, Senior Director of Immigration Services for JFS, explained: “Even the most experienced lawyers are unable to navigate the maze of humanitarian parole applications due to another system designed to function as an additional wall. preventing access to essential protection for asylum seekers. Until these issues are resolved, we will continue to face the humanitarian, legal and moral consequences of a border that turns away the most vulnerable. ”

Emem Maurus, attorney general and legal coordinator of TLC, said: “Today, hundreds of LGBTQI + people seeking asylum are waiting indefinitely in Mexico due to policies, such as Title 42 and Remain in Mexico, which deny them access to our asylum system. These policies put LGBTQI + people at risk. In Mexico, they suffer from discrimination and violence because of their gender identity and / or sexual orientation. kidnappings, untreated medical problems and, in some cases, death.

Nicole Ramos, director of the border rights project at AOL, said: “Like the Trump administration, the Biden administration is losing the right to claim that the United States is a champion of human rights and the rule of law when it allows CBP to ignore federal law and go. human beings hunted down and killed by cartels, human traffickers and members of all levels of the Mexican military and law enforcement.

Federal agencies have not responded to media inquiries on the matter.

This press release and a copy of the complaint are available here.

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