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Safe Third Countries for Asylum-Seekers


Why Mexico Does Not Qualify as a Safe Third Country

It has been argued that refugees or asylum-seekers passing through Mexico to request asylum in the United States should be denied entry to the U.S. based on the availability of protection in Mexico as a signatory to the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees. This has been referred to as a “safe third country” option.  A “safe third country” has been defined as one which is non-refugee-producing or where refugees can receive asylum without any danger. Despite steps taken by Mexico in recent years to strengthen its asylum system, the system is still squarely within the development phase and has extremely limited resources and capacity; it currently processes a small fraction of the asylum applications received by the US. In addition, migrants often lack sufficient protections in Mexico and frequently experience violence and other abuses at the hands of organized crime and corrupt officials. This backgrounder will explain more on the “safe third country” concept, what implementation with Mexico could look like, and why Mexico is clearly not a safe, or in many cases viable, alternative for many refugees and vulnerable migrants seeking international protection.

Mexico United States Migrant Detention and Separation Rights and Justice One-pagers