Mon | Jan 17, 2022

US will resume policy for asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico

Published:Friday | December 3, 2021 | 12:11 AM
Migrants leave Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico, in October, as they continue their trek north towards Mexico’s northern states and the US border.
Migrants leave Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico, in October, as they continue their trek north towards Mexico’s northern states and the US border.

SAN DIEGO (AP):

Migrants seeking to enter the United States will again have to stay in Mexico as they await immigration hearings, as the Biden administration reluctantly announced plans Thursday to reinstate the Trump-era policy and agreed to Mexico’s conditions for resuming it.

Revival of the “Remain in Mexico” policy comes even as the Biden administration manoeuvres to end it in a way that survives legal scrutiny. President Joe Biden scrapped the policy, but a lawsuit by Texas and Missouri forced him to put it back into effect, subject to Mexico’s acceptance.

Mexico’s foreign relations secretary said in light of US concessions Mexico will allow returns, expected to begin next week, “for humanitarian reasons and for temporary stays”.

Mexico’s conditions include COVID-19 vaccinations for migrants, more protection in dangerous Mexican border cities, better access to attorneys and quicker resolution of cases.

About 70,000 asylum-seekers have been subject to the policy, which President Donald Trump introduced in January 2019 and which Biden suspended on his first day in office.

Illegal border crossings fell sharply after Mexico, facing Trump’s threat of higher tariffs, acquiesced in 2019 to the policy’s rapid expansion. Asylum-seekers were victims of major violence while waiting in Mexico and faced a slew of legal obstacles, such as access to attorneys and case information.