The Trump administration began implementing a new hard-line immigration policy by sending a single asylum-seeker from Central America back to Mexico
Carlos Catarlo Gomez will wait in Mexico for his assigned court date later this year in San Diego
He appeared confused and scared by the throng of reporters waiting for him
Administration officials initially called it a ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy to deter the waves of asylum-seeking families
Many have fled the neighboring nations of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras
Until now, asylum-seekers were allowed to remain in the U.S. pending their immigration court appearances
There is a backlog of 800,000 cases piled up in U.S. immigration courts
30 January 2019
The United States sent the first Central American asylum seeker back to Mexico through a crossing at the border city of Tijuana on Tuesday, Mexican authorities said, as part of the Trump administration’s hardened immigration policy.
The return of a Honduran man was carried out under a U.S. policy dubbed the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) by which the United States will return non-Mexican migrants who cross the U.S. southern border back to Mexico while their asylum requests are processed in U.S. immigration courts.
The United States is not expected to send any other Central American migrants to Mexico on Tuesday, said a Mexican immigration official, who asked not to be identified.
A U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman confirmed earlier in the day that the United States would begin sending migrants back to Mexico on Tuesday.
Mexican officials had initially expected the transfers to begin on Friday. The interior ministry identified the returned Honduran migrant as Carlos Gomez, 55, who entered Mexico last year and has been given a humanitarian visa to remain in Mexico through late November.
Asylum seekers have traditionally been granted the right to stay in the United States while their cases were decided by an immigration judge, but a backlog of more than 800,000 cases means the process can take years.
U.S. authorities are expected to send as many as 20 people per day through the Mexican border city of Tijuana and gradually start sending people back through the other legal ports of entry, Mexico’s foreign ministry has said.