The Trump administration has begun sending Mexicans who enter the United States illegally deep into the country’s interior in an effort to solve the ongoing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In years past, foreigners who illegally enter the United States were simply released into Mexico — right at the border. Now, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has started to fly illegal aliens from Tucson, Ariz., to Guadalajara, more than 1,000 away.
“Officials say the migrants being returned are all Mexican nationals from non-border Mexican states who typically have either recently illegally entered the U.S., or who had gone through the court system but were ruled to be deportable by an immigration judge,” Fox News reported.
DHS says it plans to run two flights a week starting at the end of January and expects to return about 250 migrants a week. Officials say the move has been requested by the Mexican government, with which the U.S. has been working for months to stem the border crisis — which peaked in May but still concerns officials.
“This is another example of the Trump Administration working with the Government of Mexico to address the ongoing border security crisis,” DHS spokeswoman Heather Swift told Fox News. “Mexico has been a great partner in stopping illegal migration before they reach our border and in standing up the Migrant Protection Protocol which has allowed us to provide court dates to more than 55,000 individuals.”
The administration in December set in place a new rule that stems from new “Asylum Cooperative Agreements” (ACA) with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Under the new agreements, the three Central American countries are required to stop foreigners from attempting to get to the U.S.-Mexico border. Should a country fail to do so, and foreigners are eventually apprehended at the U.S. border, the U.S. government can send the foreigners back to the country through which they immigrated. The move follows a rise in “caravans,” huge groups of Central Americans crossing numerous borders to get to the United States.
“The United States recently signed bilateral ACAs with El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in an effort to share the distribution of asylum claims,” the new rule states. In an attempt to share the burden, “this interim rule is intended to aid the United States in its negotiations with foreign nations on migration issues.”
“Specifically, the rule will aid the United States as it seeks to develop a regional framework with other countries to more equitably distribute the burden of processing the protection claims of the hundreds of thousands of irregular migrants who now seek to enter the United States every year and claim a fear of return. Addressing the eligibility for asylum of aliens who enter or attempt to enter the United States will better position the United States as it engages in ongoing diplomatic negotiations with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) regarding migration issues in general, and related measures employed to curtail the irregular flow of aliens into the United States,” the policy says.
As part of the new policy, the three countries will receive increased law enforcement and monetary assistance from the U.S., including hundreds of millions of dollars the Trump administration has not passed along as the border crisis surged.
The new rule follows another Trump put in place earlier this year. The administration enacted the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which became known as the “Remain In Mexico” policy. The protocols require that foreigners who enter the U.S. illegally be processed, then released into Mexico — not the United States — to await their hearings.
Instead of waiting, though, thousands of migrants who were returned to Mexico gave up their asylum claims and went home, Fox News reported.
So far, the administration has returned more than 55,000 migrants to Mexico. The assessment describes the policy as an “indispensable tool in addressing the ongoing crisis at the southern border and restoring integrity to the immigration system.” It says that it has completed almost 13,000 cases as of Oct. 21.
The new assessment, significantly, cites estimates from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that approximately 20,000 migrants are currently being sheltered in Mexico near the U.S. border as they still seek entry to the U.S. The assessment says that number, though, suggests “a significant proportion of the 55,000+ MPP returnees have chosen to abandon their claims.”
In an assessment of the Migrant Protection Protocols filed last week, the government said, “At peak of the crisis in May 2019, there were more than 4,800 aliens crossing the border daily — representing an average of more than three apprehensions per minute.”