Asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico
The Trump administration announced a new policy on Thursday requiring people seeking asylum at the U.S. border to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed. The previous policy allowed people claiming asylum to be released in the United States after an initial screening. The Mexican government said foreigners will have temporary permission to remain in Mexico on humanitarian grounds and will be allowed to seek work authorization after getting a notice to appear in U.S. immigration court.
The policy, which does not apply to children traveling alone or to Mexican asylum seekers, comes two days after the United States promised $10.6 billion in development aid to southern Mexico and Central America, a decision some say cleared the way with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for the new policy.
Critics say migrants will be unsafe in Mexican border towns, but U.S. officials claim many applicants are gaming the system and making false claims as a way to stay in the United States. U.S. border authorities fielded more than 92,000 “credible fear” asylum claims in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, up 67 percent from about 55,000 the previous year. Only about 9 percent of petitioners were eventually granted asylum.
“They will not be able to disappear into the United States,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the House Judiciary Committee. “They will have to wait for approval. If they are granted asylum by a U.S. judge, they will be welcomed into America. If they are not, they will be removed to their home countries.”
The changes will be rolled out gradually across the border, with many details not yet disclosed.
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