Media Contact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 21, 2021
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2717

January 21, 2021

Lawsuit claims the agency violated procedural standards and asylum law in applying its “Remain in Mexico” policy to the plaintiffs

MIAMI, FL – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, with Brian L. Tannebaum, P.A., filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday on behalf of four asylum seekers and their family members challenging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for forcing them to return to Mexico and remain there while their cases are considered.

The asylum seekers — a toddler and her mother from Guatemala, and two vulnerable women from Cuba — have been returned to Tamaulipas, an extremely dangerous area of Mexico, where they have experienced violence, kidnapping, illness, and destitution, as a result of the outgoing Trump administration’s “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP).

“Placing asylum seekers in such danger makes it much more difficult for them to prepare their cases and appear for hearings,” said Amien Kacou, staff attorney at the ACLU of Florida. “Arbitrarily depriving people of a meaningful opportunity to seek safe haven is inhumane and in violation of American law.”

The named plaintiffs are among tens of thousands of asylum seekers who have been returned to Mexico since the MPP was first announced in December 2018. The policy ranks among the most cynical in countless attempts by the outgoing administration in the last four years to discourage noncitizens from exercising their legal right to seek protection in the United States.

The ACLU is separately litigating a facial challenge to the MPP policy before the Supreme Court. The present lawsuit instead asks the district court to rule against DHS, more specifically, for applying the policy to the plaintiffs in this case.

The complaint can be found here:

This press release can be found here: