“Remain in Mexico” Program: What to Look Out For

At the end of September 2019, the current administration passed a new policy that allows border patrol officers to require asylum seekers to the United States to wait in Mexico for months or more while their cases are being processed in the U.S. So far, it has been implemented at the Calexico, California border and the El Paso, Laredo, and Brownsville borders.

This policy has been called the “Remain in Mexico” program and, so far, it has sent around 47,000 immigrants back to Mexico to wait there while their asylum claims are being processed in the U.S.  Many view this new policy as an attempt to deter asylum seekers from coming to the U.S. since it would require them to wait in Mexico or another third country while their cases are being processed.  Other critics of the policy see it as chaotic and dangerous to require families to wait in Mexico while their asylum applications are being processed in the U.S.

There is also a new phenomenon called “tent courts” which are appearing at various ports of entry. Tent Courts are an attempt by the Department of Homeland Security to hear asylum seekers’ cases literally at the port of entry. Judges appear by videoconference software; the goal of these “tent courts” is to expeditiously process asylum seekers claims and either approve or deny their applications at the port of entry. However, it is often difficult for migrants to obtain legal representation before their cases are adjudicated in these tent courts. Additionally, in some cases, even after winning their asylum claim, migrants are forced to remain in Mexico for several more weeks before their final approvals are processed.

If you are interested in learning more about this new policy or know someone in this situation, feel free to contact our office at 713-589-2085 or email us at [email protected] to set up a consultation.

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