DHS: Immigrants seeking asylum in USA will be sent to Mexico

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Mexico's government said that it would accept some of those migrants for humanitarian reasons, in what many will see as a concession by the new administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced Thursday any caravan migrants who seek asylum in the United States must wait indefinitely in Mexico until their immigration proceedings at the U.S. Port of Entry are complete.

He also said the "border is tight" and praised the US military and border patrol officials for their work, although the Washington Post noted last month marked the highest number of arrests of migrants crossing the border illegally. "Mexico is taking its own appropriate actions in response, and our two countries have committed to a major regional plan to solve this crisis".

Trump tweeted on November 24 that migrants at the US-Mexico border would stay in Mexico until their asylum claims were individually approved in USA courts.

The Mexican government released a statement in Spanish saying the country "reaffirms its sovereign right to admit or reject the entry of foreigners into its territory" but will allow certain foreign persons to stay in Mexico - for humanitarian reasons and temporarily - from within the United States who have entered through a port of entry or who have been apprehended between ports of entry and interviewed by US immigration authorities, and have received a notice to attend a hearing before a judge.

In her speech, Nielsen announced the end of the American immigration policy nicknamed "Catch and Release". "We know that access to counsel is one of the most important factors in whether or not an asylum seeker is able to live in safety in the United States". Almost 100,000 immigrants requested initial asylum screenings during the fiscal year ending in September, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

"Many people seeking asylum in the United States face discrimination, exploitation, sexual assault, murder or the possibility of being disappeared while traveling through Mexico or while forced to wait for extraordinarily long times in Mexican border towns".

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The five-year plan imposes a record expenditure of 27.47 trillion yen (244 billion euro) on Defense until March 2024. Local media have said the purchases could total more than one trillion yen ($8.8 billion).

The Associated Press reported Thursday that Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said the move was a temporary, humanitarian measure.

But some critics claim he is beholden to global agreements to process credible asylum claims.

"Giving them food or work authorization does not protect them from the cartels or the war zone that they would be sent to", she said.

Thousands of people from Central America have headed to the Mexico-U.S. border.

In late November, Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said there were questions about the legality of such a proposal. Trump has worked to prevent caravan members from entering the country illegally by mobilizing the military along the border and threatening to cut aid to countries that let the migrants pass through. "I don't think you have a very strong constituency on this side" in favor of the Central American migrants.

"It is repugnant to me and astonishing to me that during Christmas, a time in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ - a Jesus Christ who had to flee for his life with Mary and Joseph", Mr. Gutiérrez said.

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