Jan 6, 2020

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.

The big picture: The "remain in Mexico" policy for Central Americans was implemented in November, but asylum officials were emailed guidance in recent days on how to expand the process to include Mexicans, per BuzzFeed.

  • Asylum officers will interview the asylum-seekers to determine whether they are eligible to be deported to Guatemala and gain protections there rather than the U.S.

What they're saying:

“Mexico is dangerous; Guatemala is even more so. This expansion of the [agreement] continues to prevent legitimate asylum-seekers from having their cases heard by the US and foists them upon the Guatemalan system, which has about a dozen staff. Asylum in the US is now practically available only for people wealthy and privileged enough to get visas, shutting out many of the most vulnerable groups asking for help at our borders.”
— An anonymous asylum official told BuzzFeed

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

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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

Mexico blocks thousands of migrants seeking path to U.S. from entry

Central American migrants headed to the US remain at the international bridge that connects Tecum Uman, Guatemala, with Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on January 20, 2020. Photo: JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP via Getty Images.

Three thousand Central-American migrants on their way to the United States were again blocked from entering Mexico on Monday, AP reports.

Driving the news: Mexican troops had scuffled with and locked out hundreds of migrants from entry to Mexico on Saturday. Mexico's increased efforts to block migration north are boosted by President Trump's threat of sanctions if further groups reach the U.S.

Go deeperArrowJan 20, 2020