- Sanford Nowlin
- Protestors against the Trump administration's so-called "wait in Mexico" policy hold a sign at a downtown protest.
Roughly three dozen immigration advocates, attorneys and activists held signs and took turns speaking about the danger the rule creates for migrants who are often preyed upon by criminals as they camp in Mexico awaiting immigration hearings.
Trump's Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP, have also made it harder for people with legitimate asylum cases to have them heard in court, advocates argued. Many are unable to hire attorneys, and their cases are given mere minutes of consideration by judges.
"The MPP is another clog in the system that is showing great hostility to migrants and is not consistent with the values of the United States, the values in our constitution and the values in our law," said Curtis Doebbler, an attorney for San Antonio-based RAICES, a migrant legal-aid organization.
Since its inception, Trump's MPP policy has kept 60,000 asylum-seekers in Mexico while they await asylum hearings, according to federal data. Many of them are stuck in tent cities or poorly equipped shelters.
During Wednesday's protest, immigrant-rights activists played a tape of a pregnant Latin American asylum seeker who lamented being stuck in limbo in Mexico. They also described cases in which asylum seekers had been beaten, tortured and raped while they waited in border cities.
Katy Murdza, an advocacy manager for the American Immigration Council, said she spoke with one migrant who was afraid to continue going to his asylum hearings because he'd already been kidnapped. He feared the same criminals would kill or hurt him if they saw him again.
"MPP hurts vulnerable asylum seekers, delivering them into danger while making it virtually impossible to access the asylum process," Murdza said. "It's designed, purposefully, to make people give up on their cases."
On Sunday, dozens of protesters assembled in Matamoros, Mexico, just across the border to protest more than 2,500 asylum seekers who have set up a tend encampment in the city as they await immigration hearings, Texas Public Radio reports.
Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.