Official: Asylum seekers to wait in Mexico starting Friday




  • In World/Asia
  • 2019-01-25 02:02:32Z
  • By Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The Trump administration on Friday will start forcing some asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. courts, an official said, launching what could become one of the more significant changes to the immigration system in years.

The changes will be introduced at San Diego's San Ysidro border crossing, according to a U.S. official familiar with the plan who spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because it was not yet publicly announced. San Ysidro is the nation's busiest crossing and the choice of asylum seekers who arrived to Tijuana, Mexico, in November in a caravan of more than 6,000 mostly Central American migrants.

The policy, which is expected to face a legal challenge, may be expanded to other crossings. It does not apply to children traveling alone or to asylum seekers from Mexico.

The details were finalized during bilateral talks in Mexico City over the last few days. It calls for U.S. authorities to bus asylum seekers back and forth to the border for court hearings in downtown San Diego, including an initial appearance within 45 days.

The Trump administration will make no arrangements for them to consult with attorneys, who may visit clients in Tijuana or speak with them by phone.

U.S. officials will begin processing only about 20 asylum claims a day at the San Diego crossing but plan to ramp up to exceed the number of claims processed now, which is up to 100 a day, the official said.

The policy could severely strain Mexican border cities. U.S. border authorities fielded 92,959 "credible fear" claims - an initial screening to have asylum considered - during a recent 12-month period, up 67 percent from a year earlier.

While illegal crossings from Mexico are near historically low levels, the U.S. has witnessed a surge in asylum claims, especially from Central American families. Due largely to a court-imposed 20-day limit on detaining children, families are typically released with a notice to appear in immigration court. With a backlog of more than 800,000 cases, it can take years to settle cases.

The Department of Homeland Security said the policy would "reduce the number of aliens taking advantage of U.S. law and discourage false asylum claims" and will no longer let asylum seekers "disappear into the U.S. before a court issues a final order."

It's not clear if Central Americans will be deterred from seeking asylum in the U.S. if they have to wait in Tijuana, a booming city with plenty of jobs. Tijuana doesn't come close to matching the U.S. on wages, and asylum seekers generally have far fewer family ties than they do in the U.S.

The "Remain in Mexico" policy is President Donald Trump's latest move to reshape immigration policy, though it may prove temporary. Other major changes have been blocked in court, including a ban on seeking asylum by people who cross the border illegally from Mexico and dismissing domestic and gang violence as grounds for asylum.

It is also an early test of relations between two populist presidents - Trump and Mexico's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office Dec. 1. Mexico has steadfastly rejected Trump's demand that it pay for a border wall, leading the president to ask Congress for $5.7 billion in a stalemate that has partially closed the government for more than a month.

Mexican officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Roberto Velasquez, spokesman for Mexico's foreign relations secretary, emphasized earlier this week that there would be no bilateral agreement and that Mexico was responding to a unilateral move by the United States. He said discussions covering "a very broad range of topics" are aimed at preparing Mexico for the change.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen worked on the plan for months with Mexican officials, and the broad outlines came together at a meeting in November.

The next month, Mexico said it would give temporary humanitarian visas to people seeking U.S. asylum while their cases are settled and they could seek permission to work in Mexico.

Mexico said at the time that it would coordinate with the U.S. on the policy's mechanics, which would ensure migrants access to information and legal services. Incoming Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Dec. 24 that he wanted more information to ensure "orderly and secure" protocols.

Rafael Fernandez de Castro, director of the University of California, San Diego's Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies, said last week that Mexico had not fully considered the impact on Mexican border towns.

"This could have lasting repercussions for Mexican border cities," Fernandez de Castro said. "We have to assess the potential numbers and how to help them stay healthy. We don't have that assessment."

___

Associated Press writers Maria Verza in Mexico City and Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report.

COMMENTS

More Related News

US policeman suggests Democratic lawmaker should be shot
US policeman suggests Democratic lawmaker should be shot

A Louisiana policeman was being investigated Monday for suggesting a liberal congresswoman should be shot, as President Donald Trump's tweets attacking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other lawmakers sparked a national uproar. The officer's Facebook post followed criticism that the president's incendiary rhetoric, which continued Monday with a new tweet about the four "very racist" and "not very smart" Democratic congresswomen, was bordering on incitement to violence. "This vile idiot needs a round.......and I don't mean the kind she used to serve," Charlie Rispoli, of the Gretna police department, wrote of former bartender Ocasio-Cortez, according to local media.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller
Former special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony, like his report, promises an ink-blot test for partisans

House Democrats subpoenaed special counsel Robert Mueller, but Republicans are eager to ask what sparked the Russia probe

Iran announces arrests, death sentences as CIA spy ring busted
Iran announces arrests, death sentences as CIA spy ring busted

Iran arrested 17 suspects and sentenced some to death after dismantling a CIA spy ring, an official said Monday, as tensions soar between the Islamic republic and arch-enemy the United States. Security agencies "successfully dismantled a (CIA) spy network," the head of counter-intelligence at the Iranian intelligence ministry, whose identity was not revealed, told reporters in Tehran. Tehran has been at loggerheads with Washington and its allies since May 2018, when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from a landmark 2015 deal putting curbs on Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

'Our paychecks bounced': US workers in limbo as coalmines suddenly close

Blackjewel files for chapter 11 in a move critics say is increasingly used to avoid paying workers what they are owed A mother and daughter walk past a line of miners' cars down Highway 421 in Harlan, Kentucky. Many questions about Blackjewel's operations have not been answered. Photograph: Alton Strupp

Voice Of America Ignores Reasons For Trump
Voice Of America Ignores Reasons For Trump's Criticism Of Rep. Ilhan Omar

Ilhan Omar, but failed to include most of the reasons for the criticism.VOA wrote "Trump has found his latest target for acerbic ridicule - a hijab-wearing Muslim newcomer to Congress named Ilhan Omar."The news agency mentioned briefly only two instances of Omar's anti-Semitic remarks, referring to one as playing "off tropes questioning the influence of Jewish money in American politics."Trump began tweeting Sunday about how the "'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen…should go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it's done."The tweets were likely aimed at Democratic Reps. Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Asia

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.