Political News

US to begin sending asylum seekers to Mexico for duration of immigration proceedings

Posted January 24, 2019 7:08 p.m. EST

— The Trump administration will begin sending some asylum seekers at the southern border back to Mexico on Friday, according to a Department of Homeland Security official.

Some individuals who arrive at the San Ysidro port of entry, south of San Diego, starting Friday will be given notices to appear in court in the US and told to remain in Mexico until then. Outside of their court appearances, individuals who arrive without proper documentation will remain in Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings under this policy.

The DHS official said the policy applies to migrants primarily from Central American countries.

Those with a "well-founded fear" of staying in Mexico, unaccompanied minors and certain vulnerable populations will be allowed into the US for their immigration proceedings.

In December, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the US had told Mexico that individuals seeking asylum who enter the US illegally or without proper documentation would be sent to Mexico to wait for the duration of their US immigration proceedings.

The DHS official called this policy a "methodical approach to reducing the flow of unchecked mass migration at the southern border" and said the implementation will begin with a small number of people and then "grow bigger." An administration source said authorities would start with the small number of people -- expected to be under a dozen -- while the process is ironed out.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be responsible for transporting asylum seekers to and from US ports of entry for their court appearances, the source said. The first hearings are not expected to take place immediately.