MEXICO DENIES BORDER AGREEMENT
The Trump administration has won the support of Mexico’s incoming government for a plan to remake U.S. border policy by requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims move through U.S. courts, according to Mexican officials and senior members of President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s transition team.
President Donald Trump briefly described the arrangement in a pair of tweets Saturday evening. “Migrants at the Southern Border will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court,” Trump wrote. “No ‘Releasing’ into the U.S….All will stay in Mexico.”
The president then issued a threat. “If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will CLOSE our Southern Border. There is no way that the United States will, after decades of abuse, put up with this costly and dangerous situation anymore!” Trump wrote.
Earlier in the day, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement that “President Trump has developed a strong relationship with the incoming Lopez Obrador Administration, and we look forward to working with them on a wide range of issues.”
The agreement would break with long-standing asylum rules and place a formidable barrier in the path of Central American migrants attempting to reach the United States and escape poverty and violence. By reaching the accord, the Trump administration has also overcome Mexico’s historic reticence to deepen cooperation with the United States on an issue widely seen here as America’s problem.
According to outlines of the plan, known as Remain in Mexico, asylum applicants at the border will have to stay in Mexico while their cases are processed, potentially ending the system, which Trump decries as “catch and release,” that has generally allowed those seeking refuge to wait on safer U.S. soil.
Mexico’s incoming government on Saturday night denied that an official deal had been made regarding migrants staying in the country before entering the United States, Mexico’s incoming interior minister, Olga Sánchez Cordero, said according to a statement acquired by CNN.
The statement is at odds with a previous report by The Washington Post, which had claimed that the incoming Mexican government supported a Trump administration plan that would require individuals seeking asylum to remain south of the US border while their applications are being processed.
Earlier on Saturday, the Post reported that the new Trump administration border policy had garnered the incoming Mexican government’s support, citing Mexican officials and senior members of Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s transition team. The Post report included quotes from Sánchez Cordero that the incoming government had agreed to the policy.
In the statement Saturday night, Sánchez Cordero explained that the next administration does not have any plans to make Mexico a “third safe country” for migrants.
“Mexico’s next federal administration does not consider within its plans that Mexico assume the condition of “third secure country” for the attention of Central American migrants or citizens of other countries in Mexican territory or those who will have that intention in the future,” Sánchez Cordero said in the statement.
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