News & Politics

Incoming Mexican Government Agrees to Follow U.S. 'Remain in Mexico' Policy for Asylum Seekers

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s transition team has reached an agreement with the Trump administration to allow asylum seekers in the migrant caravan to stay in Mexico while their claims are being processed.

This is a welcome change from the previous policy, which allowed asylum seekers to stay in the U.S. until their case was settled.

There is apparently no set timetable for how long the asylum seekers will remain in Mexico, but the agreement is a win for the Trump administration whose major worry now is that other caravans of asylum seekers will try to enter the U.S.

CNN:

In a statement Thursday, Pompeo said that he, Nielsen and Ebrard had met “to discuss the migrant caravans.”

“We have affirmed our shared commitment to addressing the current challenge,” he said. “The caravans will not be permitted to enter the United States.”

US officials began receiving guidance on “Remain in Mexico” this week and were told it could be implemented soon, the Post reported, but US and Mexican senior officials stressed that elements of the plan had not yet been established and that no formal agreement has yet been signed.

If put into effect, the new policy would end the current practice of asylum seekers remaining in the United States while their applications are processed, disparaged as “catch and release” by President Donald Trump, who is a vocal opponent of the practice.

US officials told the Post that they hope to pilot the policy at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing before potentially expanding it to five to seven other ports of entry along the southern border.

“For now, we have agreed to this policy of Remain in Mexico,” Olga Sánchez Cordero — López Obrador’s top domestic policy official as Mexico’s interior minister-elect — told the Post, calling it a “short-term solution.”

“SShort-term” indeed. A permanent solution is to lean on Central American governments to keep the caravans from forming in the first place. Mexico shouldn’t have to deal with this problem any more than the U.S. government. With the Tijuana mayor declaring a “humanitarian emergency,” Mexico’s central government has thrown up its hands and now wants the UN to take over.

NBCNews:

The mayor of Tijuana has declared a humanitarian crisis in his border city and said Friday he was asking the United Nations for aid to deal with the approximately 5,000 Central American migrants who have arrived.

The comments by Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum came as city officials and volunteers worked to assist the 4,976 men, women and children, most of whom were camped out at a makeshift shelter at a sports complex after spending more than a month on the road. The Trump administration has spent weeks lambasting the caravan, which it said was filled with criminals, gang members and even — it insinuated at one point without any proof — terrorists.

Manuel Figueroa, who leads the city’s social services department, said Tijuana was bringing in portable toilets and showers, as well as shampoo and soap.

It wasn’t enough.

“Because of the absence, the apathy and the abandonment of the federal government, we are having to turn to international institutions like the U.N.,” Figueroa said.

The next time Mexico criticizes the U.S. for its “heartless” policies toward illegal immigrants, we can throw that in their face.

The problem of refugees and asylum seekers, as well as economic illegal immigration, cries out for a regional solution. The root of the problem is bad governments managing bad economies in countries where the rule of law is a joke.

The U.S. can’t fix that and neither can Mexico. But perhaps a hemisphere-wide effort to, at least, stem the tidal wave of refugees escaping violence might be a good place to start.