U.S. ramps up Mexico asylum returns, Trump confirms 'safe third country' plan

By Frank Jack Daniel and Julio-Cesar Chavez MEXICO CITY/EL PASO, Texas (Reuters) - The United States has doubled the number of asylum seekers it sends back each day to Mexico from El Paso, Texas, a Mexican immigration official said on Friday, in the first sign of action following a deal struck to avert U.S. tariffs last week. Luis Carlos Cano, a spokesman for Mexico's national immigration agency in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, said starting Thursday some 200 asylum seekers per day were being sent back, up from 100 previously.

Reuters June 15, 2019 03:06:42 IST
U.S. ramps up Mexico asylum returns, Trump confirms 'safe third country' plan

US ramps up Mexico asylum returns Trump confirms safe third country plan

By Frank Jack Daniel and Julio-Cesar Chavez

MEXICO CITY/EL PASO, Texas (Reuters) - The United States has doubled the number of asylum seekers it sends back each day to Mexico from El Paso, Texas, a Mexican immigration official said on Friday, in the first sign of action following a deal struck to avert U.S. tariffs last week.

Luis Carlos Cano, a spokesman for Mexico's national immigration agency in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, said starting Thursday some 200 asylum seekers per day were being sent back, up from 100 previously.

Under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexico agreed last week to expand the program, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, which forces mostly Central American asylum seekers arriving at the U.S. southern border to remain in Mexico to await the outcome of their U.S. asylum claims.

The program, known as Remain in Mexico, currently operates in Tijuana, Mexicali and Ciudad Juarez. Close to 12,000 people have been returned to Mexico since it began in January.

However, Mexico has not accepted that the United States send it an unlimited number of asylum seekers, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said, ahead of meetings with U.S. officials on Friday to determine details of the expansion.

Ebrard said officials would discuss which cities the program would expand to, as well as how to measure the number of people and which nationalities Mexico would accept.

"Today there is a meeting with U.S. authorities, to learn, to discuss the ports of entry and how the number will be measured, because Mexico has not accepted that it be undetermined," he said at a news conference.

Trump on Friday confirmed that the deal also included a plan to establish Mexico as a "safe third country" in which asylum seekers would have to seek refuge instead of in the United States, if Mexico did not do enough to reduce migration by mid-July through enforcement measures.

Asked in a Fox News interview if the plan included that option if Mexico cannot stem the flow of Central American migrants headed for the United States, Trump said, "It's exactly right, and that's what's going to happen."

Trump also named Tom Homan as "Border Czar." Homan is a veteran of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and served as the agency's acting head during the first year of Trump's presidency. He retired last year, after increasing arrests of non-criminal immigrants.

(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel in Mexico City and Makini Brice and Susan Heavey in Washington; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Rosalba O'Brien)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.