USA to send asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait out requests

Saul Bowman
December 21, 2018

The arrival of several thousand Central Americans in Mexico's border city of Tijuana about a month ago prompted Trump to mobilize the U.S. military to beef up border security, while restricting the number of asylum applications accepted per day.

Forcing thousands of asylum seekers to remain in Mexico, possibly for years, will put many of them in life-threatening danger, said Jennifer Harbury, a South Texas attorney and human rights advocate. Many stayed on illegally in the US either after an adverse ruling on their case or just not showing up to their immigration court date. On Thursday, the Mexican foreign ministry said Mexico had agreed to it on a temporary basis for humanitarian reasons, and it would affect those "who entered that country or had been apprehended at border entry points, and who have been interviewed by that country's immigration authorities and who have received a court date to appear before an immigration judge".

The recent arrival of a caravan of Central American migrants at the USA southern border brought fresh attention to asylum-seekers, particularly after a clash between protesters and Border Patrol agents.

While the number of people caught crossing the border illegally has fallen sharply since the early 2000s, the USA has been grappling in recent years with a surge of families and children traveling alone, especially from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The Illinois Democrat used the entirety of his time at the House Judiciary Committee hearing to trash Ms. Nielsen as a "remorseless" liar for her repeated claims that the department does not have a family separation policy.

Since arriving at the border last month, those part of the collective exodus who wish to apply for asylum have been told that they may have to wait up to two months before being able to claim asylum in the United States.

Trump also attempted an earlier crackdown on illegal immigration that resulted in children being separated from the adults who illegally brought them into the country.

Many migrants claim asylum when caught by Border Patrol agents, creating a backlog of more than 800,000 cases.

US to send migrants back to Mexico while asylum claims are processed

Crossing the border illegally is a misdemeanor; for a person who has already been deported once, it's a felony.

But some critics claim he is beholden to worldwide agreements to process credible asylum claims. Mexico also said it would extend some rights and protections to the non-Mexican asylum-seekers on Mexican soil who await immigration hearings in the U.S.

And on Thursday, a senior USA official told Fox News that Trump is seriously considering a "significant drawdown" of US troops stationed in Afghanistan - a position former President Barack Obama had championed in 2012.

Migrants waiting in Mexico can either apply for asylum there or apply for a one-year renewable humanitarian visa that comes with a work permit, if they don't want to wait out a lengthy US asylum process. Many of them participated in migrant caravans that made headlines this fall.

Thousands of people from Central America have headed to the Mexico-U.S. border.

"We made clear to the Mexican government our intent to do this and will shortly make an announcement about how they are going to deal with those returned migrants", Pompeo said.

"I don't think you can find on the Mexican side much of a coherent stance against these concessions", Estevez said.

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