The Trump government will return some asylum seekers to Mexico on Friday to await their US Immigration Court hearings, the first step in implementing a new border policy announced last month.
A US official said as part of the program Beginning at the San Diego border, selected migrants are being rejected after being processed by US immigration officials and announced in a US immigration court in a month, US officials said The US will determine how many migrants are sent back to Mexico every day, but does not specify how many will be. The Minister of Interior for Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, and Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo have announced the plan in response to the large number of migrants, mostly from Central America, to apply illegally across the border or asylum at the ports of entry. Ms Nielsen said in congressional reports that a change is necessary because current policies allow asylum seekers "to disappear into the United States."
Fleeing violence from her hometown in Honduras, Gabriela Rodriguez and her daughter traveled thousands of miles to Mexico. US border in Tijuana. The Wall Street Journal followed her as she weighed her options to move to the US, hoping to leave her past behind. Photo / Video: Jake Nicol / WSJ
In December, the Mexican government said it would leave migrants from Central America in the country while waiting for US hearings. They will receive humanitarian visas to stay and work. Officials also said that they had met with American colleagues on several occasions to discuss timing, technical details and logistics to ensure that asylum seekers had access to their lawyers.
The new approach to the border follows a steady increase in the number of families crossing illegally ̵
In December, Border Patrol agents arrested more than 27,000 people traveling as families, a record number of these migrants in a single month. Since the start of the government's tax year in October, more than 77,000 such migrants have been detained.
In the past fiscal year, a record number of asylum-seeking immigrants traveling as family members – more than 107,000 – were arrested at the border and released to the US community. Most adults are equipped with a location tracking bracelet and instructions on when and where to report to the immigration authorities, but few other pointers.
A Judge's final status decision may take years, with a backlog of more than 809,000 years.
Immigration lawyers have rejected the policy and promised to fight it. Many are concerned with the rights of migrants in a complicated legal process and their access to lawyers.
Shaw Drake, political advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union's Border Rights Center in Texas, said the ACLU left "every option open" to challenge the administration's efforts, and specific legal action, he said, "will depend on how and what the administration rolls out. "
Customs and Border Guard officials at San Ysidro, the busiest legal border crossing point for migrants seeking asylum, sent an average of about 10% to 80 migrants per day to the San Diego-Border crossing Tijuana, Mexico The port of entry can accommodate about 300 people, but some migrants are held there for a few days, which limits the number of new arrivals.
Thousands of people are waiting in Tijuana for their crossing Asylum seekers, arranged according to the date of arrival, are cared for by migrants, and every morning, in a square, those are announced in turn.
As this program enters service in San Diego, it will change elsewhere in the handling of migrants seeking refuge at other legal intersections and those illegally arrested crossing the border. Illegal border crossings are very different along the border, and agents on some routes see hundreds of people per day confronting and seeking asylum.
Those returning to Mexico will be able to return to the US on their day of residence and will be held at the border and brought to trial by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They are later brought to Mexico and left for further hearings in the US.
Most asylum seekers come from violence and poverty-stricken Central American nations such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, traversing Mexico on their journey north. Immigration policy advocates have criticized the policy for fear that vulnerable migrants might become victims while waiting in Mexico.
Please contact Alicia A. Caldwell at Alicia.Caldwell@wsj.com