PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — An Asylum Policy Gone Awry

Imagine you have walked for months from El Salvador to the United States with your family, fleeing threats of death from where you came and untold horrors on the journey.

You finally arrive in Juarez, Mexico, and legally present yourself for asylum. Then the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent takes your family into a room and they take your 17-year old-daughter aside.

They take her from the room and let the rest of your family enter the U.S., but your daughter is not there when you arrive to begin the asylum process. Instead, they have taken your daughter back across the bridge you crossed and dropped her, alone, on the bridge.

She has to walk back to a seedy area in one of the most dangerous cities in the world, knowing no one and having no idea what to do. In a place where women are routinely grabbed by drug cartels to be raped, trafficked or kept as sex slaves.

And you can do nothing to stop this from happening. This is the official policy of the U.S. Border and Custom Patrol. That happened to a family Wednesday. We heard it directly from the man who was running the center for asylum seekers where the family was taken. We were told it happens every day.

When we asked why this happened, we were told because they can and because it is cruel. It terrifies people and serves as a deterrent from people legally seeking asylum.

This is our government policy. This is who we are.

If you support the current administration, this is what you support. Look in the mirror and ask yourself if this is what you want America to be. Because you promote what you permit.

I am sickened and ashamed.

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