Many families are seeking asylum in the United States not because they want to, but because it's the only way they can stay safe. But even though they're coming here legally, they're being turned away at the border—and top politicians are failing to acknowledge this.
“Two years ago, my daughter, because of organized crime, the [gangs] started extorting her for money,” explained asylum seeker Ingrid “In that moment as a mother, those who are here and are mothers would understand me. Either the life of my daughter, or my job and my family. At that moment. I chose my daughter.”
Ingrid and her daughter Gillainy are asylum seekers fleeing violence. Like thousands of others from Central America who’ve been waiting at the border for months, they are attempting to follow the legal asylum process of entering at a port, which has become significantly more complicated under the trump administration. Many are left at risk in border towns like Tijuana, Mexico.
Actors and activists, America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama and Eva Longoria among them, wanted to see the situation firsthand, and were accompanied by nonprofit Families Belong Together.
At least 240 asylum seekers have been sent back to wait for court hearings, which is known as the “remain in Mexico Policy.” The Trump administration calls this policy the “Migrant Protection Protocol” but experts say it can put vulnerable people at greater risk.
“No one is breaking the law by showing up at our borders and seeking asylum,” said Ferrera. “So we must protect that process as Americans.”