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  • Children at an encampment near the Gateway International Bridge in Matamoros, Mexico. Sep. 12, 2019.

    Children at an encampment near the Gateway International Bridge in Matamoros, Mexico. Sep. 12, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 September 2019
Opinion

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling limits the rights of Central American children and puts them at further risk.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Friday that the United States Supreme Court's decision, which limits asylum applications on the Mexican border, could affect people who are entitled to protection given that they are fleeing violence and persecution.

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"We regret the impact that the implementation of that measure will have on asylum seekers," the UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said and reiterated that "anyone fleeing violence or persecution should be able to access complete and effective asylum procedures and international protection."

On September 11, the Supreme Court ruled to lift low-level court orders which were blocking a new set of asylum seekers-related rules imposed by President Donald Trump administration.

According to these norms, which can enter into force while the litigation over their legality continues, immigrants traveling to the U.S. must seek asylum in other countries before reaching the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mahecic mentioned that his institution is very concerned about the fate of Central American children who are traveling aline and need shelter. To guarantee their rights, it is urgent to quickly identify them and provide them with the assistance they deserve, which includes the right to request asylum.

The UNHCR spokesperson noted that the U.S. Supreme Court decision does not address the substance of the policy in question, which was issued with specific reference to the procedures that are ongoing in the lower courts and that will continue to move forward.

"We are confident that the U.S. Courts will make the final determination of the case taking into account the protection risks involved," Mahecic concluded.

According to UN data, at least 35,000 asylum seekers are currently staying in the border areas of Mexico waiting for their immigration status to be resolved.

This is the result of the so-called "Remain in Mexico" policy through which Trump tries to control migratory flows to his country.

The U.S. President's strategy also includes the establishment of "Safe Third Country" (STC) territories in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Panama.

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