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Refugees: Justice and Ethics Library Display 2020

Infographic showcasing the ethical implications of MPP and hazardly informal camps at the U.S/Mexico border. See heading Description for more details.


Natalie Chassagne


Infographic showcasing the ethical implications of MPP and hazardly informal camps at the U.S/Mexico border.


Migrant Protection Protocol proves to be an extremely harmful new addition imposed by the U.S government on asylum seekers. Viewing living conditions at the Mexican border under MPP (with little running water, few toilets, temporary and fragile tents), it is clear that this “protection protocol” is up for ethical and moral questioning.

I argue that the U.S government and ICE is entirely unethical in their treatment of asylum seekers and the protocol for asylum status. Only 15% of asylum seekers receive asylum status as a hearing before a Judge, while all migrant and asylum seekers are forced to wait at a migrant detention center for an uncertain amount of time. Under the Migrant Protection Protocols, asylum seekers coming to the U.S must wait in Mexico in unofficial, extremely temporary and unhealthy, unsanitary, overcrowded refugee camps. This protocol restricts access to a place that may provide safety for those fleeing persecution, while enforcing many to live in a county that is unfamiliar to them. Without support in the country they now wait in, without a job, without a home, asylum seekers wait for an uncertain amount of time.

According to deontological ethics, this treatment is purely unethical, because we need not determine the possible outcomes, but the actions that are morally right and morally wrong. Unlike consequentialism, which instead is based on outcomes of the actions themselves. Both deontological ethics and consequentialism support the idea that this protocol is inherently unethical, as the action itself puts someone in danger, and the possible outcomes also lead to danger (being in ICE Detention with unsanitary conditions, overcrowding, prison-like treatment).

These ideas and claims are supported in this infographic, as I include statistics on the number of asylum seekers forced to remain in Mexico, those that have been kept at the border, and quotes from Asylum officers. More than 36,000 asylum seekers, as of 2019 under MPP, have been forced to wait in Mexico for an uncertain amount of time, no matter their country of origin. A representative from the Asylum Workers Union claimed, " [MPP] placed these particular migrants in harm's way — it threatens the foundation of the international refugee system, which depends on cooperation between countries that cannot be sustained in the face of flagrant violations under the MPP,”. Which raises the question, is MPP legal under International Law? As MPP harms asylum seekers instead of protecting them and offering them refuge, many Human Rights groups and former Immigration officers such as Doug Stephens, and Immigration Lawyer and law professor Bill Hing believe it is not legal.

The images included show the poor living conditions of Asylum seekers at the Mexican border, as well as the Mexican border itself. The images presented start on right, then on the next column are placed on the left as to create a balance, and show disparity between what MPP claims to do, and the outcome that actually exists.


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