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Trump Administration will send asylum-seekers to Mexico while claims are processed

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  1. Pilgrim


    Migrants who cross the U.S. Southern border and seek asylum will be required to wait in Mexico while their claims are being processed, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Thursday.

    Currently, most people requesting asylum are allowed to stay in the U.S. — sometimes in detention — while their claim is pending in immigration court. The new policy will send such migrants to Mexico for the duration of that process.

    The immigrants will still be interviewed by a U.S. asylum officer, but they will no longer be released into the interior with a notice to appear in immigration court. The Department of Homeland Security has long complained that many applicants simply disappear and never show up for their hearing.

    Houston immigration attorney Ruby Powers just returned from Tijuana, Mexico, where thousands of immigrants are waiting in makeshift camps to apply for asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. After learning of the sweeping DHS announcement, she said, "This is going to cause utter chaos."

    Powers said migrant shelters in Mexican border cities are already full and can hardly handle asylum applicants who are told to return to Mexico and wait. She said immigration lawyers like her will find it logistically difficult to assist clients with their immigration cases since they will be in Mexico, some without phones or Internet.