Trump plan would force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico as cases are processed, a major break with current policy

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Central Americans who arrive at U.S. border crossings seeking asylum in the United States will have to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed under sweeping new measures the Trump administration is preparing to implement, according to internal planning documents and three Department of Homeland Security officials familiar with the initiative.

According to DHS memos obtained by The Washington Post on Wednesday, Central American asylum seekers who cannot establish a “reasonable fear” of persecution in Mexico will not be allowed to enter the United States and would be turned around at the border.

The plan, called “Remain in Mexico,” amounts to a major break with current screening procedures, which generally allow those who establish a fear of return to their home countries to avoid immediate deportation and remain in the United States until they can get a hearing with an immigration judge. Trump despises this system, which he calls “catch and release,” and has vowed to end it.

Among the thousands of Central American migrants traveling by caravan across Mexico, many hope to apply for asylum due to threats of gang violence or other persecution in their home countries. They had expected to be able to stay in the United States while their claims move through immigration court. The new rules would disrupt those plans, and the hopes of other Central Americans who seek asylum in the United States each year.

Trump remains furious about the caravan and the legal setbacks his administration has suffered in federal court, demanding hard-line policy ideas from aides. Senior adviser Stephen Miller has pushed to implement the Remain in Mexico plan immediately, though other senior officials have expressed concern about implementing it amid sensitive negotiations with the Mexican government, according to two DHS officials and a White House adviser with knowledge of the plan, which was discussed at the White House on Tuesday, people familiar with the matter said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the administration’s new plan, if a migrant does not specifically fear persecution in Mexico, that is where they will stay. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is sending teams of asylum officers from field offices in San Francisco, Washington, and Los Angeles to the ports of entry in the San Diego area to implement the new screening procedures, according to a USCIS official.

Read the entire article here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-plan-would-force-asylum-seekers-to-wait-in-mexico-as-cases-are-processed-a-major-break-with-current-policy/2018/11/21/5ad47e82-ede8-11e8-9236-bb94154151d2_story.html?utm_term=.0130226d32c6

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