Policy Forces Migrants To Wait In Mexico After Claiming Asylum

Cheryl Sanders
December 21, 2018

The change in policy comes after immigration officials have had to deal with an influx of Central American migrants attempting to cross the USA border with Mexico.

Department of Homeland Security officials told reporters on condition of anonymity that the Mexican government has said asylum seekers would have access to attorneys in Mexico and that migrants would be able to enter the United States for their court hearings, without giving more details about how the process would work. "Aliens will have access to immigration attorneys and to the US for their court hearings".

They will instead "be processed by DHS and given a "Notice to Appear" for their immigration court hearing".

The U.S. and Mexican governments called it a unilateral move by the Trump administration, but the announcement came two days after the U.S. pledged $10.6 billion in aid for Central America and southern Mexico to make people feel less compelled to leave.

The U.S., she said, is taking this step in an effort to reduce illegal border crossings.

Donald Trump tweeted on 24 November that migrants at the US-Mexico border would have to stay in Mexico until their asylum claims were individually approved in US courts, a break with normal procedure. It does not apply to children traveling alone or to Mexican asylum seekers. Ove the past five years, there's been a 2,000 percent increase in aliens claiming credible fear, or applying for asylum. "If they are not, they will be removed to their home countries", Nielsen said.

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 USA asylum process.

Nielsen referred to the situation in a statement as an illegal immigration crisis.

The ministry said the actions taken by the Mexican and U.S. governments do not constitute a "safe third country" scheme, where migrants would have to request U.S. asylum while in Mexico.

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. Many of them participated in migrant caravans that made headlines this fall.

"This deal is a stark violation of global law, flies in the face of USA laws passed by Congress and is a callous response to the families and individuals running for their lives", said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty worldwide.

"Only [that] to say that calling me a liar are fighting words".

Mexico's government said that it would accept some of those migrants for humanitarian reasons, in what many will see as a concession by the new administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. "[This] will solve the problem we've had of folks coming into the United States, claiming asylum and then disappearing into the country".

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