The Trump Administration has rolled out a new policy that requires migrants seeking asylum to stay in Mexico while their applications are processed.
According to The Washington Post, Mexican officials have agreed to the plan but have said that it is a “short-term solution.”
“For now, we have agreed to this policy of Remain in Mexico,” said Olga Sánchez Cordero, Mexico’s incoming interior minister to The Washington Post. “The medium- and long-term solution is that people don’t migrate. Mexico has open arms and everything, but imagine, one caravan after another after another, that would also be a problem for us.”
“According to DHS memos obtained by The Washington Post on Wednesday, Central American asylum seekers who cannot establish a “reasonable fear” of persecution in Mexico will not be allowed to enter the United States and would be turned around at the border,” writes The Washington Post. “The plan, called “Remain in Mexico,” amounts to a major break with current screening procedures, which generally allow those who establish a fear of return to their home countries to avoid immediate deportation and remain in the United States until they can get a hearing with an immigration judge.”
The Trump administration has made immigration policy a priority and is on a mission to limit the illegal immigration and to handle the recent influx of immigrants gathering at the border.
Earlier in the year, Trump rolled our a new policy that stopped migrants from seeking asylum after entering the country illegally. They could only request asylum if they entered through the official ports of entry. But a federal judge in California suspended the policy until Dec. 19.
Trump issued the policy after thousands of migrants arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, across the border from San Diego, California. A collection of migrant caravans quickly started to form at the border. Homeland Security estimates that 10,500 migrants are camped along the border.
The Department of Homeland Security said that about 70,000 migrants a year claim asylum after jumping the border illegally.
U.S. officials have been negotiating with Mexico to come up with solutions to the thousands collecting at the border.
“Since the Mexican Presidential election in July, the USG has been working jointly with the current Mexican Government and the incoming administration of López Obrador to identify and address shared issues of concern. These include our joint desire to promote beneficial legitimate trade and travel, interest in ensuring that those traveling to our borders do so safely and orderly, concern for the safety and security of vulnerable migrant populations, and respect for each nation’s sovereignty,” said James McCament, the acting undersecretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security to The Hill.
Late last week, the mayor of Tijuana declared a humanitarian crisis now that there are about 5,000 migrants camped inside a sports complex. The mayor has requested aid from the U.N. after condemning the Mexican government’s lack of action.
“The mayor also criticized the federal government for not taking more seriously Donald Trump’s threat to shut down the border if his administration determined Mexico had lost “control” of the situation in Tijuana. “That’s serious,” he said,” writes The Guardian.
Trump closed the border last week for a few days to reinforce its security.
“I actually — two days ago, we closed the border. We actually just closed it. We’re saying, nobody is coming in, because it was out of control,” said Trump last Thursday. “But you take a look at Tijuana, Mexico, and you see what’s happening there — it’s really a bad situation.”
Trump has taken a strict stance on illegal immigration. He sent thousands of American troops to the southern border to handle the masses.
If any migrants are violent, Trump has instructed the soldiers to respond with lethal force.
“If they have to, they’re going to use lethal force. I’ve given the okay. I hope they don’t have to,” said Trump to reporters on Thanksgiving day. “But, you know, you’re dealing with a minimum of 500 serious criminals. So I’m going to let the military be taken advantage of. I have no choice. Do I want that to happen? Absolutely not.”
Author’s note: This has quickly become a humanitarian crisis. Could Tijuana become a permanent camp for migrants? We don’t want to encourage collections outside of the border like this. If this camp becomes permanent, it will mean a permanent slum, hundreds of deaths and an ongoing crisis. But the “silver lining” might be that at least more will agree that there needs to be expanded border security and the wall.