SAN YSIDRO, CALIFORNIA — Yesterday, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations hosted a hearing in San Ysidro, California, to examine the humanitarian migrant crisis at the US-Mexico border.
Each of the witnesses highlighted the various aspects of the humanitarian crisis including the Migrant Protection Protocol, known as the remain in Mexico policy. This is the policy where the U.S. returns non-Mexican migrants to Mexico to await immigration court decisions. Doug Stephens, the first asylum official to publically criticize the policy, testified about his training, the interviews he conducted and his views about what he was asked to do in order to enact the new immigration policies.
“When we were trained on the policy, we were not allowing any migrants to have legal representation,” he said. He went on to challenge the legality of the policy altogether. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) thanked him for his patriotism.
“How is it that some of the poorest nations around the world can take in people in crisis,” said Rep. Bass. “What can we learn from these countries? How do international organizations like the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and others monitor and advise on the surge in migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers? What are the international protocols, norms, standards, and practices that should be followed? Basically, I want to know, what can we learn from other countries around the world. But mostly, I want to understand where the United States is with regard to these practices, norms, and standards.”
In addition to Mr. Stephens, the hearing included testimony from Nana Gyamfi, Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Kate Clark, Senior Director of Immigration Services for the Jewish Family Service of San Diego, and Charanya Krishnaswami, Americas Advocacy Director for Amnesty International USA.