Seeking Asylum

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Rasbridge, Dylan

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This submission won first place in the 2020 Images of Research competition. The competition celebrates undergraduate contributions to research at the University of Texas. The following caption accompanied the image submission: The Migrant Protection Protocols require asylum applicants to remain in Mexico while awaiting court proceedings. Only a certain number of people are processed at each port of entry per day, so the rest are turned back and given a number on a ‘list’. These asylum seekers have set up camps like this one in Matamoros where they wait months to present their claims for asylum. In this camp, entities from the U.S. provide shelter, limited food and healthcare, legal counsel and education to migrants. The camp is roughly divided by nationality and each group has de-facto leaders.We visited three cities in Mexico in January and uncovered allegations that some Mexican officials had accepted bribes to advance migrants’ names on the list. We also found that Mexican citizens claiming asylum were being queued and sent back to Mexico–a possible contravention of the ‘non-refoulment’ doctrine that forbids a country from returning asylum seekers to a country where they could face persecution.We have shown our findings to attorneys, human rights advocates and university faculty.

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