Dec 26, 2019

Mexicans make up half of asylum seekers at southern border

Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

Mexicans account for more than half of the estimated 21,000 asylum seekers waiting along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Why it matters: The increase in Mexican asylum seekers poses a particular challenge to the Trump administration and its "Remain in Mexico" policy, which requires Central American refugee seekers to remain in Mexico while they await their hearings. It can't apply to Mexicans since international law bans sending people back to the country where they may face persecution.

  • The flow of Central Americans seeking asylum in the U.S. has simultaneously been lessening as a result of the more restrictive policies put in place by the Trump administration and Mexico.

Why now: Mexicans struggling with poverty and violence in some parts of the country are seeking asylum in the U.S. after hearing stories of Central Americans having some success with the process.

  • U.S. authorities are currently only allowing a small number of Mexican asylum seekers to enter the country each day through a process known as "metering."

What's next: Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the U.S. could start sending Mexican asylum seekers to Guatemala to wait out their cases instead of allowing them to remain in the U.S.

Go deeper: Republican governors reject Trump’s offer to ban refugees

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Trump administration will deport Mexican asylum-seekers to Guatemala

More than 1,000 Mexican migrants had been waiting for weeks, some for months, for a chance to file for asylum in the U.S. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will begin sending Mexican asylum-seekers to Guatemala to wait out their cases instead of allowing them to remain in the U.S., according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Why it matters: The Trump administration had previously implemented a "remain in Mexico" policy for asylum-seekers from Central America, but international law forbids asylum-seekers from being sent back to their home country due to concerns they may face prosecution. Mexicans account for more than half of the estimated 21,000 asylum seekers waiting along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Go deeperArrowJan 6, 2020

Trump doesn't need a border wall

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump has successfully built an immigration wall that has proven impenetrable for tens of thousands of migrants — it's just not the physical one he and others obsess about.

What's happening: The number of attempted border crossings is falling, and denial rates are climbing. The very nations most migrants flee from are now the nations where asylum seekers are being sent.

ACLU sues Trump administration over Central America asylum agreements

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Image

The ACLU and other advocacy groups filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the Trump administration's asylum agreements that allow Honduran and Salvadoran asylum seekers to be sent to Guatemala.

Why it matters: The "safe third country" agreements with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador would keep more asylum seekers out of the U.S., but critics say the program doesn't inform migrants of their other options and sends them to countries that can't offer security. Only the Guatemala agreement is in effect so far.

Go deeperArrowJan 15, 2020