UNICEF Statement on the Reimplementation of Migrant Protection Protocols, ‘Remain in Mexico Policy’
NEW YORK, 9 December 2021 – “UNICEF is concerned that reimplementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) at the U.S. southern border with Mexico, as required by court order, could put the safety and wellbeing of asylum-seeking children and their families at risk.
“Following the initial implementation of MPP in January 2019, more than 70,000 asylum seekers were forced to return to Mexico until U.S. immigration courts could resolve their cases. Those subject to MPP, including many children and adolescents, waited for months in shelters and makeshift camps in Mexico without access to appropriate housing, hygiene, nutrition and essential services.
“UNICEF welcomes commitments from the U.S. Government to assist Central American countries in tackling the root causes of migration and provide humanitarian assistance to those in need. UNICEF is also encouraged by the U.S. Government’s continued efforts to end MPP once and for all.
“However, MPP could once again have profound consequences for children, many of whom have been left with no safe options to escape dire conditions and threats in their home countries.
“All migrant children have the right to protection, essential services, to live in adequate conditions with dignity and to be with their families.
“Children – no matter where they come from or what their migration status – are children first and foremost. It is imperative that all governments prioritize the protection and wellbeing of children in line with their best interests and guarantee their access to asylum procedures in a timely manner.”