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Official: Asylum seekers to wait in Mexico as soon as Friday



SAN DIEGO (AP) – The Trump administration on Friday will force some asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through US states, an official said, launching what could become one of the most significant changes to the immigration system in years.

The San Diego San Ysidro border crossing official familiar with the plan who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because it's not yet final. San Ysidro is the nation's busiest crossing and the choice of asylum seekers who arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, in November in a caravan of more than 6,000 mostly Central American migrants

The policy, which is expected to face a legal challenge, may be expanded to other crossings.

A nearly finalized plan emerged during bilateral talks in Mexico City over the last few days. It calls for U.S.

The Trump administration will make no arrangements for them to consult with attorneys who may visit clients in Tijuana or speak with them by phone.

US Officials will begin to process only about 20 asylum claims a day at the San Diego crossing but plan to ramp up to over the number of claims processed now, which is up to 100 a day, the official said.

The policy could severely mexican border towns. U.S. Pat. border authorities fielded 92,959 "credible fear" claims – an initial screening to have been considered asylum – during a recent 12-month period, up 67 percent from a year earlier. Many are Central American Families.

The "Remain in Mexico" policy is President Donald Trump's latest move to reshape the immigration policy, though it may prove temporary. Other major changes have been blocked in court, including a ban on seeking asylum for people who illegally cross the border illegally from Mexico and generally dismissing domestic violence as a basis for asylum

It is also an early test of relations between two populists presidents, Trump and Mexico's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office Dec. 1. Mexico has steadfastly rejected Trump's demand that it pay for a border wall, leading the president to ask the Congress for $ 5.7 billion in a stalemate that has partially shut down the government for more than a month

Mexican officials did not immediately respond to

Roberto Velasquez, a spokesman for Mexico's foreign relations secretary, stressed earlier this week that there would be no bilateral agreement and that Mexico was responding to a unilateral move by the United States. He said in an interview that discussions covering "a very broad range of topics" were aimed at preparing Mexico for the change.

Broad outlines of the plan were announced Dec. 20, but details were not revealed until Thursday. Mexico said last month that people seeking asylum in the U.S. (19659013) Mexico has begun issuing humanitarian visas to Central Americans as another major caravan is making its way through the south part of the country.

While illegal crossings from Mexico are at historically low levels, the US has witnessed a surge in asylum claims, especially from Central American families. Due to a lack of family detention space and a court-imposed 20-day limit on detaining children, they are typically released with a notice to appear in the immigration court. With a backlog of over 800,000 cases, it may take years to settle cases.

It is not clear if Central Americans will be deterred from seeking asylum in the U.S. if they have to wait in Tijuana, a booming city with plenty of jobs. Tijuana does not come close to matching the U.S. on wages, and asylum seekers generally have far fewer family ties than they do in the US

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Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan

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Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan has been sworn in before the Senate Judicial Committee hearing on 'Oversight of US Customs and Border Protection 'on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta)

U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan (R) holds a meeting at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection National Targeting Center in Sterling, Virginia, U.S. February 2, 2018. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

The commissioner of the Oficiina de Aduanas y Protección Fronteriza, Kevin McAleenan, was testified at the audience of the Commission of the Asuncion Judiciales del Senado with the "Supervision of the Office of Advocacy and Protec- tion Frontier" , en el Capitolio el martes 11 de diciembre de 2018 en Washington. (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Kevin McAleenan, the Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol President Donald Trump's border wall in El Centro Sector in Calexico, California, U.S. October 26, 2018. REUTERS / Earnie Grafton

The commissioner of Aduanas y Protección Fronteriza, Kevin McAleenan, derecha, escucha de jefe de comando norte, general Terrence O'Shaughnessy, en el conferencia de prensa en Washington, 29 de octubre de 2018 El Pentagono was imprisoned for 5,200 environments on the frontier with Mexico. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan testifies before a Senate Judicial Committee hearing on 'Oversight of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection 'on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, right, speaks as Commander of the United States of America Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command Gen. Terrence John O'Shaughnessy, left, listens during a news conference in Washington, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, on the Department of Defense deployment to the Southwest border. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)

Kevin McAleenan, Commissioner of the United States Customs and Border Protection, talks with reporters at the U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center, Monday, June 25, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo / David J. Phillip)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan speaks at a roundtable during an event to salute the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan arrives at a news conference on the Department of Defense's plan to deploy forces to the Southwest border at U.S. Customs & Border Protection Headquarters in Washington, US, October 29, 2018. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen listens to Kevin McAleenan, the Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol during her visit to the border of the El Centro Sector in Calexico, California, U.S. October 26, 2018. REUTERS / Earnie Grafton




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Incoming Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard has said Mexico would coordinate with the U.S. on policy's mechanics, which would ensure migrants access to information and legal services. Ebrard said Dec.

Rafael Fernandez de Castro, director of the University of California, San Diego's Center for US-Mexico Studies, said last week that Mexico had not fully considered the impact

"This could have lasting repercussions for the Mexican border towns," said Fernandez de Castro. "

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Associated Press writers Maria Verza in Mexico City and Colleen Long in Washington have contributed to this report.


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