Voices from the Border: Voices of the Remain in Mexico Policy

 December 9, 2019

Since late January 2019, the “Remain in Mexico” has forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated in U.S. immigration courts. Families returned to Mexico through the policy face the threat of violence and persecution, lack access to food and shelters, and have great difficulty finding attorneys, whose engagement can be critical to gaining asylum. The Department of Homeland Security has also separated families, sending some members to Mexico and keeping others in the United States.

On December 4, 2019, Yael Schacher of Refugees International and Ursela Ojeda of the Women’s Refugee Commission, who have both made numerous trips to the border to witness the effects of the policy, moderated a conversation with advocates and asylum seekers who have experienced this cruel policy firsthand.


Eric Schwartz is president of Refugees International.


Paulina Olvera Cáñez is a founder of Espacio Migrante, a shelter and community center catering to migrants in Tijuana, Mexico where families subject to the Remain in Mexico policy have sought refuge.

Taylor Levy is an immigration attorney in El Paso, Texas, where she focuses her work on asylum-seeking families who have been returned to Mexico under the Remain in Mexico policy.

Fatima and Cassandra, a mother and daughter from Nicaragua who sought asylum but were detained and separated because of the Remain in Mexico policy, will join by video.


Yael Schacher is Senior U.S. Advocate at Refugees International where she focuses on asylum, refugee admissions, temporary protected status, humanitarian visas, and immigration policies that have protection implications.

Ursela Ojeda is a Policy Advisor for the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission where she works on monitoring CBP custody conditions and access to asylum at the U.S. southern border.