A new Trump administration border policy requiring that asylum seekers at the southern border remain in Mexico while their claims are processed has garnered the incoming Mexican government’s support, the Washington Post reported Saturday, citing Mexican officials and senior members of Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s transition team.
The plan, called “Remain in Mexico,” emerged after a meeting in Houston last week that included Mexico’s incoming foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and other high ranking US officials, US and Mexican officials told the Post.
If put into effect, it would end the current practice of asylum seekers remaining in the United States while their applications are processed, the so-called “catch and release” by President Donald Trump, who is a vocal opponent of the practice.
“For now, we have agreed to this policy of Remain in Mexico,” Olga Sánchez Cordero — López Obrador’s top domestic policy official as Mexico’s interior minister-elect — told the Post, calling it a “short-term solution.”
“The medium- and long-term solution is that people don’t migrate,” Sánchez Cordero also said to the Post. “Mexico has open arms and everything, but imagine, one caravan after another after another, that would also be a problem for us.”
Two senior members of López Obrador’s transition team told the Post that “Remain in Mexico” would simply formalize the de facto situation.
The Post further reported that while no changes have been officially codified, López Obrador’s administration is open to the new policy.
Two US officials speaking anonymously told The Post that the new policy would allow the government to double the number of asylum claims it could process, as it would no longer be limited by detention space.
The White House and DHS have not commented.