Nov 11, 2019

Top immigration officials defend Trump's remain in Mexico plan

In separate interviews for "Axios on HBO," two top immigration officials defended the Trump administration's so-called "remain in Mexico" plan.

  • Mark Morgan and Ken Cuccinelli told "Axios on HBO" that it's meant to ease bureaucratic burdens on the U.S. and prevent the "catch and release situation" where asylum-seekers would be released into the interior of the U.S.
  • Homeland Security claims Mexico will provide those affected by the plan "with all appropriate humanitarian protections for the duration of their stay."

The plan, formally titled the Migrant Protection Protocol, pushes for some migrants seeking entry to the U.S. from Mexico to be returned to Mexico while waiting for the completion of their immigration proceedings.

  • Immigration reformists argue the plan denies individuals their right to asylum.

What they're saying:

"With our broken immigration system, specifically the Flores Settlement agreement, which says [children] cannot be held more than 20 days, it's impossible for us to get through the full process in 20 days."
— Mark Morgan to "Axios on HBO"

Morgan further argued that provisions protecting children from prolonged detainment have encouraged smugglers to "grab a kid and that's your U.S. passport in the United States."

  • "You grab a kid, you're into this country. And so what that does is you're sending a message, right, that that loophole is being closed no more. If you grab a kid, it's no longer an automatic passport into the interior United States never to be heard from again."

Cuccinelli echoed Morgan's defense of the plan:

  • "The point was to be able to actually have a way to deal with this population that wasn't a catch and release situation. So we have achieved that."
  • "It's been a success in the sense that we've been able to keep families together. We have not released people into the interior of the United States, and that was a big part of the goal."

Go deeper:

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Apprehensions dwindle at southern border as fewer migrant families seek asylum

Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Mark Morgan. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Officials apprehended more than 42,000 people at the U.S.-Mexico border last month, Customs and Border Patrol commissioner Mark Morgan said on Thursday, per CNN.

Why it matters: The number of apprehensions has continued to drop since its peak of 133,000 earlier this year. Morgan pointed to a 14% dip since September, CNN notes.

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Top Trump immigration official challenged on Border Patrol diversity

In an interview for "Axios on HBO," acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan defended the level of diversity within the organization, despite its leadership being overwhelmingly white.

Why it matters: The vast majority of America's immigration policymakers are white, despite the issue primarily affecting people of color. The leaders are also primarily male. America is overall 51% female, 18% Hispanic and 13% African American.

Go deeperArrowNov 11, 2019

U.S. sends first Honduran asylum seeker sent to Guatemala

Dozens of people seen waiting to enter the U.S. on the Northern side of the International Bridge over the Rio Grande, in Matamoros, Tamaulipas state, Mexico. Photo: LEXIE HARRISON-CRIPPS/AFP via Getty Images

The first Honduran migrant was sent to Guatemala on Thursday to pursue his asylum case, the AP reports, kicking off a "landmark" Trump administration policy.

Flashback: Guatemala signed a "safe third country" agreement in July, agreeing to take in more Central American asylum seekers in an effort to slow migration in the U.S. The policy mostly impacts immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador whose routes to the U.S. go through Guatemala. Thousands of Guatemalans left the country last year to seek asylum in the U.S., Al Jazeera notes.

Go deeperArrowNov 22, 2019