Immigrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum will no longer be released into the United States, but rather be returned to Mexico while they way for their claim to be processed, announced the U.S. Department of Homeland Security last Thursday. This new policy is effective immediately and immigrants are still able to obtain an interview with a U.S. asylum officer
Last Thursday, Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen outlined the plan during an oversight hearing hosted by the House Judiciary committee. These immigrants will be given a notice to appear in U.S. immigration court and will be allowed to return to the country for their scheduled hearing. During the legal proceedings, Mexico will provide humanitarian aid such as work permits, legal services, and aid for basic needs, such as food and shelter.
For weeks, the U.S. and officials of the new Mexican government have been negotiating this deal, which is now known as “Remain in Mexico.” Mexico would accept such measures in order to create jobs in Central America and thus reduce immigration from these countries.
This plan appears more favorable compared to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from parents who were facing criminal charges for illegally crossing the southern U.S. border, which has received immense backlash from the public and media. Sending families back to Mexico is an alternative way to detain and/or release such families into U.S. soil.
The recent news coverage of the Central American migrant caravan has renewed the issues regarding seeking asylum in the United States. President Trump continues to denounce the caravan as a threat to national security, causing the immigration to enact policies which often conflict with federal laws.
Last Wednesday, a federal judge in Washington D.C. struck down the administration’s policy which denied asylum claims involving domestic abuse and gang violence. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote the Department of Justice (DOJ) policies ordered by former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions violated federal laws since Congress determines the standard for deportation, not the executive branch.