Mexico Denies Supporting Trump's Asylum Plan — Contradicting The President's Tweets
The incoming Mexican government has contradicted news reports — and President Trump's own tweets — while claiming there is no deal to host migrants seeking aslyum in the United States on Mexican soil. This contradicts a Washington Post report on Saturday, which seemed to confirm positions Trump outlined on Twitter. But a statement late Saturday made clear that Mexico's government doesn't agree with Trump's asylum plan, reportedly called "Remain in Mexico."
The same incoming minister — who had confirmed the plan to The Post, according to the paper — said in a statement provided to news outlets late Saturday that there is officially "no agreement of any type between the future government of Mexico and the United States."
Olga Sánchez Cordero, who will be the interior minister in the next Mexican government, said in the statement that the incoming government has only been in talks with the U.S. The new leaders will take power on Dec. 1, and no deals can be made before that date, Sánchez Cordero told Reuters.
She also said that the new government would oppose any plans by Trump to force migrants to seek asylum in Mexico instead of the United States. "Mexico's next federal administration does not consider within its plans that Mexico assume the condition of 'third secure country' for the attention of Central American migrants," her statement reads.
Trump had tweeted on Saturday details of a new policy that matched what The Post had reported. "Migrants at the Southern Border will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court. We only will allow those who come into our Country legally," the president tweeted. "All will stay in Mexico."
Then, the president threatened to close the border completely. "If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will CLOSE our Southern Border. There is no way that the United States will, after decades of abuse, put up with this costly and dangerous situation anymore!" the president added.
The Washington Post quoted Sánchez Cordero agreeing to that plan. "For now, we have agreed to this policy of Remain in Mexico," she told the paper, adding that it was a short-term solution.
The way the current asylum law is written, though, migrants must enter the United States to seek it. They can do so at a port of entry, or by crossing illegally and using an asylum case to prevent deportation. There's no current way for asylum seekers to start the process while staying in Mexico.
The Trump administration has tried to stop asylum seekers from going the route of an illegal crossing, and require all to enter through ports of entry. But a federal judge has blocked the plan. "[Trump] may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden," the judge wrote.
The new attempts to keep asylum seekers in Mexico has been met skeptically by human rights advocates, especially given that the border states in Mexico are some of the most dangerous in the country and would "inevitably put people in danger."
"The administration ought to concentrate on providing a fair and lawful asylum process in the U.S. rather than inventing more and more ways to try to short-circuit it," Lee Gelernt, an ACLU attorney, told The Post.
Trump tweeted about the border again on Sunday morning, calling on Mexico and other countries to prevent caravans; he also blamed the issue on the Democrats without any evidence. He did not reference the "Remain in Mexico" policy.