Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)

The Biden Administration's Promises to Refugees at the US-Mexico Border: Successes and Challenges

Thursday, February 25, 2021

12:00pm – 1:00pm

Watch on Watson's YouTube Channel.

Simultaneous interpreting in Spanish will be available

During his campaign, President Biden committed to taking immediate steps to reverse the Trump Administration's inhumane asylum policies. In particular, then-candidate Biden promised to end several policies that resulted in the return of hundreds of thousands of primarily Central American asylum seekers to Mexico. Many have been waiting more than a year, in dangerous and squalid conditions, for an opportunity to present their claims in front of a US immigration judge.

In his first days in office President Biden has taken steps to address these harms; yet tens of thousands of men, women and children remain trapped in vulnerable situations in Mexico, as the new administration works through the political and administrative challenges in reconstructing the US asylum system. In this talk, Margaret Cargioli, of Immigrant Defenders Law Center, and Daniel Berlin, of Asylum Access Mexico, will discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by their clients--families fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries--as the US gradually unwinds the destructive immigration policies of the last four years.

Human Rights and Humanitarianism in Action

Margaret Cargioli — Managing Attorney at Immigrant Defenders Law Center. 

Margaret has worked on behalf of underserved indigent groups, including victims of domestic violence and asylum seekers throughout her legal career. She has a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science from Boston University, a M.A. in International Relations from The University of Chicago, and a J.D. from The City University of New York School of Law.

After graduating from law school, Margaret served as a law clerk at the Superior Court of New Jersey, Civil Division. Margaret was a supervising immigration attorney at Legal Services of New Jersey where she managed a variety of removal defense and affirmative immigration cases, conducted community outreach, and provided know-your-rights presentations to immigrant detainees.

Currently, Margaret is Managing Attorney of the Cross-Border Initiative (CBI) program at Immigrant Defenders Law Center based in San Diego, California. She leads the CBI team in providing deportation defense to families on both sides of the border. Margaret has been at the forefront of advocating on behalf of asylum seekers in the Migrant Persecution Protocols program who have been forced to remain in Mexico while their cases are pending in U.S. immigration courts.

Daniel Berlin — Deputy Director of Asylum Access México. 

Daniel joined Asylum Access’s Mexico team in 2019, after previously serving as Legal Services Director of Asylum Access Ecuador. In the interim, he litigated civil rights cases in Pennsylvania and consulted for the International Organization for Migration in Zimbabwe. In his current role, he supervises a team of 35 lawyers, advocates and support staff providing legal and integration services to more than 10,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Mexico each year.

Daniel earned his JD magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center with a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. He has a BA in Asian Studies from Cornell University. Prior to law school, Daniel served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tejutla, Guatemala.