January 18, 2019

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Asylum Seekers Face New Obstacle at Mexican Border with U.S.

U.S. Mexico Border

Just when you thought immigration law and how it affects the ongoing situation of Central American migrants arriving at the United States border with Mexico could not get any more confusing, it just did.

In a nutshell, the most recent issue is that President Trump now wants the Central American migrants in Tijuana and surrounding areas to stay in Mexico, at least until their asylum claims are approved in U.S. immigration courts, which could take months or, more likely, years.

Those who oppose Trump’s plan and claim it’s not only impossible but illegal. They say this leaves migrants who are already fleeing a terrifying situation in even more danger because many of the ports of entry into the U.S. at the Mexico border are controlled by cartels.

Asylum-seekers have reported to Mexican officials claims of having been kidnapped, held for ransom, and brutalized. Still, thousands of migrants are stuck outside ports of entry like Tijuana with no money and no connections to locals to ask for help.

Recently, U.S. Border Patrol officials have strictly limited how many migrants can make asylum claims at ports of entry on any given day, and now the waiting time is weeks and months.

Trump Administration Will Face New Leadership in Mexico

Of significance is the timing of the Trump Administration’s plan to keep migrants in Mexico while their cases are processed in immigration courts.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a populist leftist, took office December 1, 2018, and has “pledged to clean Mexico of corruption, put the poor first, and shake up politics. While his unorthodox approach has gained him a loyal following, his unpredictability is rattling international markets, stirring up critics and setting him up for a standoff with the United States over migration,” according to a recent article on npr.org.

The Trump Administration will have to negotiate with the incoming Mexican government on a plan that would force migrants to remain in Mexico while their asylum cases are processed in the United States immigration courts, which could take several years in some cases.

Critics of this new plan say the United States cannot force asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico (or any land) where they are not safe. Lee Gelernt, Deputy Director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in response to Trump’s plan, “…right off the bat, we can’t imagine any proposal will be legal.”

The Trump Administration claims it’s been telling Central Americans to not make the dangerous journey to Mexico to eventually cross the US/Mexico border, but that his warnings have fallen on deaf ears. The new plan for asylum-seekers will force the migrants to stay in the very place he said they should not travel to due to the dangers there—Mexico.

Obrador has made claims that he will neither ruffle feathers or fight with President Trump and that he will be taking a pragmatic approach with U.S. dealings. His words will soon be put to the test as Mexico and the United States, together, deal with the thousands of U.S. soil-bound migrants that have arrived in northern Mexico.

Obrador’s administration has indicated it may be willing to have the migrants remain in Mexico while going through the lengthy process to apply for asylum in the United States.

About Lynn Fugaro

Lynn has been writing web content since 2007 after a lengthy career as a middle school English teacher and administrator. Writing web content seemed a natural progression following a career teaching adolescents about the beauty and the power of the written word, and she quickly got hooked on the challenge of writing SEO- and reader-friendly content that could be found on Page 1 of Google and other search engines.

Having written content for physicians and attorneys for the first few years of her writing career, Lynn has most recently produced original, informative, entertaining, and relevant content for the entertainment industry, the automotive industry, senior communities, pet rescues and numerous other businesses hoping to increase website traffic and page views for all clients looking for informative, vibrant content.