Mexican Government Will Accept U.S. Asylum-Seekers

By Shani Saxon Jan 28, 2019

Mexican authorities announced on Friday (January 25) that they will not prevent the United States from sending asylum-seeking migrants to Mexico while they wait for a hearing in U.S. courts, The Washington Post reports. They also insist that their acceptance of the new Trump administration policy does not mean they agree with it. Instead, according to The Post, Mexican officials are hesitant to "pick a fight" with the White House, especially when President Andrés Manuel López Obradoris is only two months into his term.

Roberto Velasco, a representative for the Mexican foreign ministry, spoke to The Post. "The Mexican government does not agree with the unilateral measure implemented by the U.S. government," he said. "Nonetheless, and in line with our new migration policy, we reiterate our commitment to migrants and to human rights. Migration should be a choice, not a necessity."

As Colorlines previously reported, the Trump administration first announced this new border policy in December 2018. And now, with Mexico’s reluctant acceptance of the change, the U.S. has the green light to move forward. Velasco told reporters, "The United States was prepared to send back the first group: up to 20 migrants across the footbridge at the San Ysidro border crossing near San Diego."

By all accounts, the new border policy is expected to face legal challenges. Cesar Palencia, chief of migrant affairs in Tijuana, told The Post that border cities will have a difficult time receiving the influx of people. "We don’t see a strategy to attend to them," he said. "It’s not in keeping with the law, and I consider it a violation of migrants’ rights."

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the leading Democrats on the Senate and House Committees on the Judiciary, also see this as a violation. They released a statement on Friday (January 25) about their dissatisfaction with the implementation of the new border policy.

"The Trump administration is on a mission to take apart the asylum system, which was developed after the horrors of World War II to ensure persecuted people have an opportunity to petition our government for safety," the statement reads. "The basic responsibility owed to those seeking asylum under U.S. and international law is that people fleeing for their lives cannot be turned away without a chance to make their case."