Sunday, January 20, 2019

DHS is making asylum seekers wait in Mexico while claims are processed

Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States will be sent to Mexico while their cases are evaluated, the Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday.

“Today we are announcing historic measures to bring the illegal immigration crisis under control,” said DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a statement. “Aliens trying to game the system to get into our country illegally will no longer be able to disappear into the United States, where many skip their court dates. Instead, they will wait for an immigration court decision while they are in Mexico.”

Under the new policy, citizens of third-party countries who cross from Mexico into the United States and request asylum will be returned to Mexico until a judge determines their eligibility for asylum. Nielsen told lawmakers about the measures, which will be implemented in the coming days.

Nielsen was confronted by Democratic members, both over the new policy and over the death of Jackelin Caal. But the move is likely to face significant court challenges, in line with other administrative changes the Trump administration has tried on immigration policy.

“[This violates everything] that we understand about our [asylum] laws. The situation is manufactured. We wouldn’t have a crisis with our [asylum] policy if we actually went through the proper steps and adjudicated these cases quicker — I think you wouldn’t see this hysteria that the administration is causing,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.).

The Mexican government, in a major reversal of previous policy, announced yesterday that it will allow Central American migrants to remain in Mexico while their U.S. asylum cases are processed. Mexico will “[authorize, for humanitarian reasons and in a temporary manner, the entry of certain foreign persons coming from the United States who have entered into that country through a port of entry or who have been apprehended between ports of entry] …” the country’s Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE) announced in a statement.

Still, some Democrats say it empowers the Trump administration’s immigration policies. “It allows the Trump administration to corrupt our asylum and refugee system that we have in place in this country. And it’s a foundation of who we are as a nation. They shouldn’t participate, because they may be acting from a point of view of love and caring, but the United States isn’t,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill).

THE HILL