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Yanci Nuñez:
Susana Flores 915-525-2434
Amy Shannon 708-404-6801

CHICAGO – February 4, 2019 — Over the past days, several news outlets have reported that US immigration attorneys and journalists have been denied entry into Mexico. The affected individuals report that the stated reason for the denial was that they appeared on a list, flagged by a foreign government, as individuals of concern. The organizations collaborating on the Refuge for Families Campaign: Alianza Americas, Fair Immigration Reform Movement, National Partnership for New Americans, and We Are All America issued the following joint statement: Asylum seekers and migrants need and have the right to legal information. Many US lawyers have volunteered in Mexico in recent months, taking their pro bono support to where it is desperately needed. We condemn any and all efforts to undermine or limit the provision of legal services and information to asylum seekers, whether they be in the US, waiting to enter the US, or having returned to Mexico to wait for their asylum hearings. Reliable and trustworthy information allows asylum seekers to make informed decisions related to their protection needs. The United States has slowed processing of asylum at our southern border, deliberately causing lengthy delays, and has now begun returning Central American asylum seekers to Mexico to await hearings. In this context, it is all the more important for information on the US asylum process and legal orientation to be available in Mexico. Journalists are playing a critical role in exposing the drivers of displacement in our hemisphere and in documenting the many difficulties facing those who are currently fleeing violence in Central America. We must ensure that the rights of a free and independent press are also protected. If journalists can be denied entry due to exposing uncomfortable truths, this should sound strong alarm bells for all of us who believe in freedom of expression. The existence of lists of foreign professionals volunteering or working in Mexico in the context of the migrant caravans is cause for serious concern. We reject any efforts to undermine the ability of human rights defenders to carrying out their work.