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Stuck in Uncertainty and Exposed to Violence: The Impact of US and Mexican Migration Policies on Women Seeking Protection in 2021


In 2021, policies on both sides of the US-Mexico border negatively affected women seeking asylum and other protections. With the second year of the Biden administration underway, Trump-era restrictive policies remain in place at the US-Mexico border, exacerbating the situation for women forced to wait at Mexico’s northern border for the opportunity to seek asylum in the US. At the same time, under pressure from the Biden administration, the Mexican government continues to step up enforcement to deter migrants and individuals seeking protection at Mexico’s southern border, worsening the situation for women stuck there.

The Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) and Instituto para las Mujeres la Migración (IMUMI) have been closely tracking the impact of both US and Mexican government policies and practices on women seeking protection. Both organizations also conducted interviews with women and families in the fall of 2021, including at migrant shelters in Mexico City and along the US southern border, to hear from women seeking protection to understand the challenges and dangers they face.

This report includes our key takeaways and recommendations to the US and Mexican governments to strengthen asylum systems in both countries and broaden complementary pathways for protection.

Mexico United States Migrant Women Asylum Rights and Justice Reports