The U.S. government had moved aggressively last year to curb the number of asylum seekers arriving at its southwest border. The majority came from Central America. The U.S. began making many of those requesting asylum wait out their cases in Mexico. Then it forged agreements with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador that would allow it to send some asylum seekers there. The U.S. government argued that migrants should request asylum in the first country they entered, not wait until they arrived at the U.S. border.
To date, the U.S. has sent 94 asylum seekers from El Salvador and Honduras to Guatemala. Only six of them decided to seek asylum there while the rest returned to their countries.
Mexicans do not pass through any other countries to arrive at the U.S. border. But in recent days, guidance was sent to U.S. asylum officials that said Mexicans would now be included under the bilateral agreement with Guatemala.
Pedro Brolo, who has been designated foreign affairs minister by President-elect Alejandro Giammattei, and his spokeswoman did not immediately answer requests for comment.
On Dec. 19, Morales’ interior minister, Enrique Degenhart, suggested that talks were underway to expand the program to Mexicans because it had yielded such strong results with Central Americans.
Mexico has expressed its unhappiness with the plan. Mexican Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero said via Twitter Tuesday night that “it would be an action contrary to international law and the bilateral relationship.”
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