Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development turned 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro on Monday visited asylum seekers in Matamoros, Mexico to learn about their waiting process. Under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and President Donald Trump's "Remain in Mexico" program, those seeking asylum must stay in Mexico until their case is heard.
This is what it looks like right now in Matamoros as hundreds of assylum seekers wait in Mexico pending their cases. Today, presidential hopeful Julián Castro is here taking a stance against MPP. @kgbt pic.twitter.com/8LlsDSx0pu— Marybel Gonzalez (@MarybelKGBT) October 7, 2019
Castro escorted 12 LGBT asylum seekers to the border. The group said they were head been threatened and/or assault while waiting for their case to be heard, BuzzFeed News reported.
“Ten years in detention is better than a day here,” said Dany, 22, a lesbian who fled Cuba with her partner, told the Los Angeles Times. Because her case is currently pending, she declined to give her last name.
According to Danny's 24-year-old partner, Mari, people in the migrant camp have called them names.
The same people who are living with us discriminate against us,” Mari said.
We crossed back into the US with 12 LGBTQ and disabled asylum seekers who should not be included in the remain in Mexico policy.— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) October 7, 2019
Their cases are now under review. pic.twitter.com/vQGr3WueMQ
Today, he toured the encampment, met with migrants, and walked 12 to the border checkpoint to petition for their asylum.— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) October 8, 2019
Julián isn’t talk, he’s the real deal. pic.twitter.com/rBZtIyBOQz
The group was eventually turned away with their cases unheard.
Danny told the Times she mentioned her safety concerns to the immigration officer who interviewed her but he was "unsympathetic."
“I told him I was in danger in Matamoros. That didn’t matter to him,” she said. “There’s no asylum for anyone ... the system is designed to end with us leaving.”
UPDATE: hours after we were told LGBT and disabled asylum seekers would have their cases heard, they have been returned to Mexico.— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) October 7, 2019
By law, these migrants are supposed to be exempt from the Remain in Mexico policy—but @CBP had decided to ignore their due process. Outrageous. https://t.co/bLaThZMNFJ
Castro chided the Trump administration's decision to continue with the policy.
"It flies in the face of the tradition in the United States of allowing people seeking asylum to make that claim and to remain in the safety of the United States instead of having to be in places like Matamoros," Castro said. "A lot of families along the border who are part of this MPP program have been subjected to violence, some have been kidnapped, some have been extorted, some have been treated a lot worse than what they were fleeing from."
According to Castro, he hopes Americans realize those who are waiting on the other side of the border are just like them and that they "are desperate and are being cruelly by this president."
“I hope that people in this country who say that they’re Jesus-loving, God-loving—that they pay more attention to God-loving, Jesus-loving people on this side of the border, that are brown-skinned, that are desperate, and are being treated cruelly by this president," Castro said.
WATCH THIS:— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) October 8, 2019
“I hope that people in this country who say that they’re Jesus-loving, God-loving—that they pay more attention to God-loving, Jesus-loving people on this side of the border, that are brown-skinned, that are desperate, and are being treated cruelly by this president.” pic.twitter.com/u1PS1lgDtH