After months of negotiation with Mexico — and an acknowledgement that change was coming a little under a month ago at the height of the caravan story — it appears Donald Trump has gotten what he was after.
Migrants attempting to cross the Southern border of the United States will be stopped in Mexico until a court approves their asylum petition and, as Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen put it, “will not be able to disappear into the United States.”
Nielsen announces new DHS policy to halt illegal immigration, saying immigrants arriving into the U.S. from Mexico illegally or without proper documentation may be returned to Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings. https://t.co/hgKdLEyNuH pic.twitter.com/e1W7zTI3JT
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 20, 2018
Migrants heading to the southwest border to seek asylum in the United States will have to wait in Mexico until their claims are processed, under an agreement between the two countries announced on Thursday that will affect tens of thousands of people each month.
Only about 9 percent of people are actually granted asylum. The Trump administration says too many migrants make false claims.
“They will not be able to disappear into the United States,” Nielsen said on Thursday in remarks before the House Judiciary Committee. “They will have to wait for approval. If they are granted asylum by a U.S. judge, they will be welcomed into America. If they are not, they will be removed to their home countries.”
Discussions on the arrangement have been going on between the two countries for months, well before the new leadership took over in Mexico on Dec. 1. On Thursday, the Mexican foreign ministry said Mexico had agreed to it on a temporary basis for humanitarian reasons, and it would affect those “who entered that country or had been apprehended at border entry points, and who have been interviewed by that country’s immigration authorities and who have received a court date to appear before an immigration judge.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has indicated implementation of the new rule will begin immediately.
Outlets such as The New York Times are already covering the issue making the U.S. the heavy — Mexico will be “forced” to house migrants; Mexico will become a waiting room; quoting a spokesman for the Mexican Foreign Ministry saying the agreement wasn’t a negotiated deal but rather “a unilateral move by the United States that we have to respond to,” etc. The NYT never acknowledges that the U.S. is simply tightening their border requirements; which, as a sovereign nation, they have every right to do (as Mexico well knows).
In other words, the people placing a burden on Mexican resources are the people trying to pass through it, not the United States, who will dutifully process asylum applications as they come in. Or, even more to blame perhaps, are the leaders of those nations migrants are fleeing because the situation is so dire in those countries ex-pats would rather walk for a month and face an uncertain future than stay and face a certain, unpleasant one.
Mexico might think about striking a deal with those leaders if it finds the holding pattern untenable.
In the meantime, the debate over the need for a wall looks marginally less urgent.