Posted on August 23, 2019

Trump Has Returned 35,000 Asylum-Seekers to Mexico. Now the Country Is Pushing Back.

Hamed Aleaziz, BuzzFeed News, August 22, 2019

The Mexican government has begun pushing back on a controversial Trump administration program forcing asylum-seekers to return to the country after more than 35,000 people were sent back to Mexico, BuzzFeed News has learned.

Under the Trump administration’s Migration Protection Protocols policy, asylum-seekers are forced to wait in Mexico as their cases are processed in the US, a system that can take months or years to complete. {snip}

It appears in recent weeks, however, Mexican immigration officials have scuttled some of those plans by implementing caps on the number of people that can be returned to the country, limiting the hours when they can be sent back, and refusing to take asylum-seekers on Sundays, according to a Department of Homeland Security briefing document obtained by BuzzFeed News.

The move comes after more than 35,000 people were returned under the program since its inception at the beginning of the year, according to the document. The figure — the highest to date — has not been previously reported.


In El Paso, Texas, Mexican officials are no longer accepting asylum-seekers after 1 p.m. The decision has forced US Customs and Border Protection to detain immigrants who come from Mexico for their US court hearings in its custody overnight in more than half of all cases this month.

In some instances, the Mexican government has outright refused to take those who have been given final deportation orders but can appeal their cases, much to the chagrin of DHS officials.


The Mexican government has also begun busing asylum-seekers returned to the country’s northern border to far-off locations such as Monterrey or Tapachula, a move that has puzzled DHS officials, according to the briefing document. The effort, officials said, was poorly coordinated, and while it appeared it was designed to relieve overcrowding at the border, it was still unknown to US officials what Mexico’s intentions are.

Tapachula, located near the border with Guatemala, is a more than 30-hour drive to the US, where asylum-seekers are expected to return for their immigration court hearings. {snip}

Wilson said Mexico is likely busing the asylum-seekers to other parts of the country because shelters near the US border are full and the government is under pressure to take action.