The Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" plan expands to Nuevo Laredo

July 10, 2019

The Remain in Mexico program for migrants who entered the U.S. without documents and claimed to be seeking asylum has expanded to another Mexican city. Ten migrants have been sent from the Texas border city of Laredo to Nuevo Laredo, which lies on the south bank of the Rio Grande, to wait while their applications are processed in the U.S.

The program, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) is already operating in the Mexican border cities of Tijuana, Mexicali and Ciudad Juarez. Mexican officials report that through the first week in July, over 18,000 mostly Central American migrants have been returned to those cities.

Putting aside the questions of whether the concept of “asylum” can rightfully be applied to large segments of the populations of entire countries, whether these asylum applicants are in fact only economic migrants, and whether information about the dangers involved in the land journey from Central America to the United States should be sufficient deterrent to stop migrants — especially those with families — from attempting the journey, the perils involved in relocating migrants to the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, in which Nuevo Laredo is located, have been pointed out.

Map of Tamaulipas

In June 2011, NPR reported that the Mexican army had taken full control of the police departments in some of Tamaulipas state's most troubled cities, including Nuevo Laredo, because the police were suspected of having been deeply infiltrated by Los Zetas.

Safety concerns might cause the migrants to be relocated

Even though the migrants have entered this situation of their own volition, authorities might decide to relocate them to safer cities while they wait for their asylum hearing in the United States.

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