U.S. to Send Some Asylum-Seekers to Mexico

By Shani Saxon Jan 25, 2019

Some migrants seeking asylum in the United States will be forced to go to Mexico as they wait for their immigration court hearings, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Trump administration will implement this shift as early as today (January 25) as part of the new border policy announced in December 2018.

The changes will begin at the nation’s busiest crossing, San Diego’s San Ysidro border, according to The Associated Press. The outlet confirmed the news with an official who is familiar with the plan, but opted to remain anonymous until the administration releases an official statement, The AP reports. Right now, the practice of sending asylum-seekers to Mexico does not include children traveling alone or migrants from Mexico. 

According to The AP, after meeting with Mexican officials over the last few days, U.S. authorities will "bus asylum seekers back and forth to the border for court hearings in downtown San Diego, including an initial appearance within 45 days." They will not, however, make arrangements for asylum-seekers to consult with attorneys. 

When U.S. officials first announced the new border policy on December 20, 2018, representitives for the Mexican government responded, saying, "People seeking asylum in the U.S. would get temporary humanitarian visas while their cases are settled in the U.S., which can take years, and could seek permission to work in Mexico," per The AP. 

Experts say this new policy will likely face legal challenges, and Mexican officials have yet to comment on the most recent changes. According to The AP, Tijuana has a vibrant job market, but it fails to match "the U.S. on wages," and most asylum seekers "have far fewer family ties than they do in the U.S."