Mexico to begin accepting Central American deportees
Citing two U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials who are
not authorized to speak publicly, Nick Miroff of the Washington Post reports that Mexico will begin taking back Central American migrants as part of a rapid-deportation agreement with the U.S. that went into effect at midnight.
According to these CBP officials, Mexico will accept deportees from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, so long as they are adults in good health.
The U.S. Border Patrol is said to have already begun setting up “field processing” tents where migrants will be screened and recorded, instead of being taken to Border Patrol stations. Migrants with outstanding warrants or criminal charges will be detained in the U.S., but most others will be transferred to Mexican authorities at official ports of entry.
Mexico reportedly will not accept unaccompanied minors or migrants in poor health. So-called “asylum seekers” can be returned under the Migrant Protection Protocols (a.k.a. Remain in Mexico), where they await a hearing in a U.S. immigration court, but health emergency laws invoked by the Centers for Disease Control give U.S. authorities authority to short-circuit that procedure.
The two Customs and Border Protection officials said illegal immigrants from nations like Cuba, Haiti and China will be held in U.S. detention facilities and placed on deportation flights.
Confirmation from the Mexican government
A Mexican official has reportedly confirmed these statements, saying Mexico will take back adults from the “Northern Triangle” countries ( Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) who received humanitarian visas from Mexico or who have applied for refugee status in that country.
Mexican official confirms, says Mexico will take back Northern Triangle adults who have humanitarian visas in Mexico or who have applied for refuge status, and others returned at the border will be accepted "on a case by case basis"— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) March 21, 2020
How many Central American “asylum seekers” in the U.S. have already filed asylum claims in Mexico? Probably not as many as should have, if their sole interest is seeking asylum from persecution in their home countries, but likely more than is suspected, as a way to hedge their bets against being denied legal residence in the United States.
The longer the border remains closed, the harder it will be for those who accepted legal status in Mexico to say they weren't permanently resettled there, making them ineligible for asylum here.