TIJUANA (Reuters) – The United States is aiming to ramp up in coming weeks a program to send Central American asylum seekers to Mexico to await U.S. court dates, an experimental policy that Mexican officials and migrant shelters say risks overwhelming an underfunded system.
In late January, the United States began sending Central American migrants who crossed at the Tijuana-San Diego border back to Mexico to wait as their asylum requests were processed, a program called Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP.
Friday - US - Official - Government - Agencies
On Friday, a U.S. official said several government agencies met this week to discuss implementing the policy in more border cities. Rights groups are simultaneously suing the U.S. government to try to close down the program, which plaintiffs says breaks the law and endangers refugees.
The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the program would likely be expanded in the next few weeks, and that one option was the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez border, which saw a surge in migrant arrivals in February.
Asylum - Claims - Central - America - Segment
Asylum claims from Central America have been the fastest growing segment of immigration across the southern border and the policy is U.S. President Donald Trump’s most radical effort yet to dissuade more migrants from using asylum to reach the United States.
One of the first people to be sent back was Salvadoran fruit seller Yanira Esmeralda Chavez, who waited in line in Tijuana for five weeks to ask for asylum at the U.S. border. She said she fled her home when men threatened to kill her son unless she gave them part of her earnings and the 11-year-old boy joined their vicious street gang.
Money - Children - Mexico - Crime - Home
“I have nowhere to go and no money for me or for my children. I’m afraid of being in Mexico, the crime here is like back home,” Chavez said at the Madre Asunta shelter, where she...
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