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US policy on Mexico border

Date: 10 December 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A Trump-era policy to make asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for hearings in US immigration court has been reinstated by President Joe Biden.

 

Background

The policy is aimed at complying with a court order and agreeing to changes and additions demanded by Mexico.

 

Details

  • During the first phase, about 50 migrants will be returned daily to Ciudad Juarez from El Paso Texas for hearings.

  • The location would be expanded to further six cities. The details on number of migrants to be processed are not made public.

 

‘Remain in Mexico’ policy

  • Under this policy, asylum seekers will have to wait in Mexico for US hearings. This was scraped by Biden on the first day of office.

  • Mexico had to abide by the policy when President Trump threatened of higher tariffs. After the policy came into existence, illegal crossings fell sharply.

  • Asylum seekers waiting in Mexico face problems such as access to attorneys and case information apart from violence.

 

Observations

Only about 1% of applicants received relief and granted asylum. About six of 10 claims were denied or dismissed and legal representation was well below the average in US immigration court.

 

Contribution in reducing illegal migrations

The policy was successful in reducing illegal migration but at the cost of human rights violation. The policy ignored US law and international obligations for asylum.

 

The newer version

  • The Trump-era policy focused on Spanish-speaking countries while the new law has been expanded to Western Hemisphere countries.

  • Haitian will also be affected under the new laws. Brazilian, spared earlier would not be getting any more respite.

  • Migrants will be asked if they fear for their safety in Mexico and based on their response, they will be screened and given time to find attorney.

 

Reasons for the policy

The ‘Remain in México’ policy was earlier scraped by Biden but is now forced to reinstate following directions from state courts.