The Trump administration will roll out plans on Friday to require Central Americans to wait in Mexico as their cases are pending in the United States.
Previously, most migrants who sought asylum were detained in camps and then released into the United States to await their court hearing. The process now can take years due to all of the backlogs of people seeking refuge.
Customs and Border Protection officers will begin diverting asylum-seekers who try to enter at the San Ysidro port located in San Diego, Calif., back to Mexico. Currently, there are thousands of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador waiting in already dire conditions.
The present policy allows asylum-seekers to stay in the country, if there is a “credible fear” present. An interview with the person seeking asylum would determine if he or she could stay. Adults were detained while they awaited their hearing while children were detained for no longer than 20 days according to a federal court decision from 2015.
The new policy, called the “Migration Protection Protocols,” will give asylum applicants, who are released from U.S. custody, a “notice to appear” that will require them to return to the San Ysidro entry on a specific date in order to be taken to a hearing in downtown San Diego.
In December, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen first announced the plans for this policy:
“Aliens trying to game the system to get into our country illegally will no longer be able to disappear into the United States, where many skip their court dates. Instead, they will wait for an immigration court decision while they are in Mexico. ‘Catch and release’ will be replaced with ‘catch and return.'”
Migrant advocates are outraged because they state that this further puts asylum-seekers in danger by requiring them to wait in Mexican border cities, which have some of the deadliest homicide rates in the world.