MORE THAN 50,000

More than 50,000 asylum-seekers have been sent back to the border to await their asylum proceedings due to the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols .

Children at an immigrant shelter in Tijuana play with old toys


Since January 2019, more than 50,000 asylum-seeking human beings have been forced back into Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols, that we refer to as Migrant Persecution Protocols (MPP). The cruel policy has forced thousands into the streets of notoriously dangerous border towns and overcrowded shelters with unsanitary conditions while they await their asylum hearings. ImmDef’s Cross Border Initiative team is fighting back every day against cruelty against migrants at the border with a focus on assisting children and families. Since the Trump administration established the Migrant Persecution Protocols in 2019, more than 50,000 migrants who arrived to apply for asylum have been returned to overflowing shelters in border cities at grave risk to their livelihood.   

Troy Elder leads a workshop for familys stranded in Tijuana under the Migrant Protection Protocols.

 Each day the situation at the border deteriorates further and the need for additional resource and capacity to help is vital. We serve thousands of children and families on both sides of the border desperate for access to life-saving legal services. There are very few attorneys exclusively working to represent children and families who are being forced back across the border to wait in Tijuana and Mexicali. In addition, very few organizations provide help to children detained in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody in the CA region. The lack of legal services leaves these children vulnerable to abuse and neglect.   



  • Provide legal screenings 

  • Know Your Rights presentations  

  • Training to prepare families to represent themselves  

  • Border “turn-in” preparation for asylum-seeking families   

  • Identify particularly vulnerable asylum-seeking families in Mexico who are at risk of family separation & provide them with specialized legal services to minimize risks of family separation and detention.  

  • Comprehensive credible fear preparation & document review & assistance obtaining documents from consulates, identification & matching of families with potential sponsors, representation and advocacy with CBP and ICE  

  • Full-scale deportation defense to asylum-seeking families who stay in Southern California post-release from border facilities  

  • Create systemic change in treatment of unaccompanied children in CBP custody by monitoring conditions and treatment of clients, publicizing information, and filing Petitions for Writs of Habeas Corpus in cases where their rights are being violated.   

A plaque at the United States - Mexico border showing a line where the countries meet.