The United States begins this Friday to reverse the “Stay in Mexico” program for which more than 70,000 asylum seekers have been expelled to Mexico since January 2019.
Not everyone will have the opportunity to enter the country to follow their asylum case, but only the approximately 25 thousand who have their case open.
Read more | ‘For the first time we hear that there is a solution’: asylum seekers on the US announcement that they will receive them
The start of the process puts an end to one of the star policies of former President Donald Trump, who agreed with his counterpart Andrés Manuel López Obrador that thousands of people seeking protection were exposed in cities such as Tijuana, Baja California; Juarez, Chihuahua; Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros, Tamaulipas.
The process will not be immediate and will be supported by international agencies such as UNHCR, IOM, Red Cross and Unicef. A website that will be up and running from next week will receive the requests and process them so that each person knows when they can cross and the procedure to follow. The US authorities reiterate a message: this is a closed programme and no one outside the US authorities will be able to cross to the other side.
This process reverses one of the key anti-immigration policies agreed between Trump and the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and symbolizing the camp on the banks of the Rio Bravo, in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.
Here are some of his keys to the end of “Stay in Mexico”:
Who can apply to the US?
Only people who were returned from the US within the “Stay in Mexico” program and who have their case open will be accepted. Since January 2019, an estimated 70,000 have been expelled, but currently only 25,000 would be entitled to enter the U.S. country.
“Open case” is understood to have pending one of the three appointments that take place with the judge who determines asylum or be awaiting appeal if it has been rejected.
What will be the process?
Eligible individuals must register on a website that will be up and running next week.
As Political Animal, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, advanced, it was in charge of the development of the web. Before, people should check on this page if their case is active. Simply log in with your A-Number.
At the time they register, asylum seekers should await instructions. They will be provided with an appointment for an antigen test and then be able to enter the EU. Once inland, social organizations are expected to have quarantine shelters where ten days must pass before they are released.
How is the entry order determined?
The aim is to establish priority entry for vulnerable or time-consuming people in the process. It should be remembered that hundreds of asylum seekers suffered abductions and extortion after being returned to Mexico. The US authorities have already stated that one of the priorities will be asylum seekers from the Matamoros camp, Tamaulipas, where hundreds of people have been sleeping on the banks of the Rio Bravo for more than a year and a half.
Asylum seekers are expected to be able to access through Tijuana, Juarez and Matamoros, although logistics are still under way.
What will be the role of Mexico?
Mexico played a key role in donald Trump’s implementation of the program. He promised jobs and security, but research conducted by Animal Politics proves that what Lopez Obrador’s executive actually did was just open the door for expulsion without offering any support. Now, Acnur officials said the Mexican administration is involved in the process, although at the moment no member of López Obrador’s government has explained what his role will be.
In principle, if there are asylum seekers with the open case returning to their countries of origin, the Mexican authorities are expected to issue them with a permit to be able to apply for their appointment.
What guarantees entry into the EU?
Those entering the US are not guaranteed to be granted asylum by a judge. In fact, most applicants are rejected. For example, in the last fiscal year of 59 thousand 712 requests for shelter processed by the US authorities received only 15 thousand 751 protection, while the rest was rejected.
What will happen to the asylum seekers to those who closed the case?
The largestclosed cases is because the applicants did not go to their appointment with the judge. Many returned to their countries because of the insecurity that is lived in the cities of northern Mexico, some even forced by the Mexican government, which established bus routes that were classified as “covert deportations”. This group, the one with its case closed, would be made up of about 65,000 people. At the moment, no plan has been announced for them to cross into the US.
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