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Home | News | The Trump administration’s policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico has come to El Paso
The border fence between El Paso and Juarez on Feb. 10, 2019. Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune

The Trump administration’s policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico has come to El Paso

Some asylum-seeking migrants here will be sent back to Mexico soon under an expanded policy that requires refugees to wait on the other side of the Rio Grande until their hearings before an American immigration judge.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the Migration Protection Protocols, also known as “remain in Mexico,” was expanded to include the El Paso port of entry on Tuesday. An official said people will be sent across the border to the Mexican state of Chihuahua starting later this week.

The program began at California’s San Ysidro Port of Entry in January and was immediately met with outrage from immigrant rights groups and attorneys who said migrants could be in danger in violent Mexican cities and that being in Mexico makes communicating with their U.S.-based attorneys more challenging.

“Given the overwhelming barriers to legal representation affected individuals will face, as well as the difficulties in obtaining documentation critical to supporting their claims, whether or not a person is forced to remain in Mexico could mean the difference between life and death,” Benjamin Johnson, the executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said when the plan was first announced.

The rollout of the program in El Paso comes just days before a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Center for Gender and Refugee Studies will be argued in a California federal court. The groups are seeking an immediate injunction to halt the program and claim it violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and international human rights protocols not to return people to dangerous countries.

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, said in a statement Wednesday she will introduce legislation to end the policy.

“With this shameful policy, the administration is endangering lives, abandoning its obligation to bring forward smart solutions for our broken immigration system, and imposing on another country the task of solving our immigration challenges,” she said.

The policy doesn’t apply to unaccompanied minor children or other undocumented individuals in expedited removal proceedings, according to a DHS fact sheet about the program.

Other migrants from “vulnerable populations” may be also be excluded from the program on a “case-by-case basis” the DHS fact sheet said.

Read related Tribune coverage

Author:  JULIÁN AGUILAR  – The Texas Tribune

About The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. Facebook (@TexasTribune) Twitter (@TexasTribune) Instagram (@Texas_Tribune)

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9 comments

  1. #MAGA = MUELLER AIN'T GOING AWAY!

    Donald Trump’s racism has extended from New Zealand to El Paso and is spreading like a plague throughout the entire planet.

    • TDS much Albert? Don’t hold your breath for the Mueller report. Trump is about as racist as you are.

      • #MAGA = MUELLER AIN'T GOING AWAY!

        I’m not worried about the Mueller report you dumb ass fero goat butt blast!
        The Mueller report went incomplete thanks to William Barr.
        I’m not racist but I hate every freaking republican ass wipe low life.

        • Yes you are racist. Card toting member of La Raza. Isn’t time to change your user name? MAGA = Making America Great Again. rofl.

          BTW – You do know Mueller is a Republican. Carry on with your TDS.

        • Hey Albert Mueller just went away. NO COLLUSION. Get help for your TDS.

        • Albert gets all his news (propaganda) from CNN. The Collusion News Network.

          • Mueller's gone but the party is just starting!

            Fero the goats ass! whats up huey? I don’t see CNN, like you are glued on to Fox deep state with Sean Hannity,Tucker Carlson, and Jeanine Pirro.
            Sure NO COLLUSION! that’s according to William Barr as he made more than sure that Robert Mueller would rap up the investigation or face firing.
            Now about La Raza, I sure wish I could meet some of their members, as they are real American patriots.
            America was already great since the Civil Rights was passed in 1964. But there are still many issues in the great nation that Russia has manage to manipulate and interfere in our politics in 2016.
            I know that Mueller is a republican and a Vietnam veteran, he served our great nation. While Donald Trump made the excuse of having bone spurs. Why don’t you email Donald Trump and ask him to show us his X ray records?
            And as for you, take your short lived fake victory lap old goat, you racist bigot from the KVIA KKK forum.
            And stop watching Fox brainwashing propaganda fake news!
            Carry On You Maggot.

        • Albert with acute Trump Derangement Syndrome……PRICELESS! Trumo won, you lost!

        • Trying to rewrite history Albert? Speaking of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 you do know the Democrats filibustered against it. It passed due to strong Republican support in both the House and Senate. The Democrats were the racists and segregationists. Not to mention card toting KKK members.

          Nonetheless winning is great loser. Get over it.

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