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Letter to Department of Justice Regarding Targeted Prosecutions of Muslim Asylum-Seekers

Public Comment/Letter
Issue area
Community Advocate
Published: Sep. 25, 2023

The National Immigration Project and 44 other civil and human rights groups who represent or work closely with people from Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities delivered a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice to express extreme concern over reports of recent prosecutions under 19 U.S.C. § 1459 in Del Rio. These charges – which the Assistant U.S. Attorney’s office in Del Rio appears to have brought disproportionately against people from Muslim-majority countries – have historically been relatively rare. However, as The Los Angeles Times recently reported, over an 18-month period from October 2021, that office prosecuted more than 200 people for violation of this statute, over 60 percent of whom came from countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and Mali, even though people from Muslim-majority countries make up only 5 percent of the population of those crossing the border.