Border enforcement officials intend to quadruple the number of daily asylum applicants who are sent back to the other side of the U.S.-Mexico border.
As part of its multi-faceted attempt to clamp down on the massive amount of illegal immigration taking place at the southern border, the U.S. government plans to dramatically increase the number of asylum applicants who are pushed back into Mexico as they await their claims in court, according to a Trump administration official who spoke with The Associated Press.
There are roughly 60 asylum seekers a day who are sent back to Mexico at the El Paso, Calexico and San Ysidro ports of entry. These individuals are permitted to return to the U.S. for their court dates, but with a backlog of over 700,000 immigration cases, they might wait years for their cases to progress through the system. Numerous immigration hardliners — including President Donald Trump — argue that many migrants are lodging bogus asylum claims as a means to enter the U.S.
“You have people coming, you know they’re all met by the lawyers … And they come out, and they’re met by the lawyers, and they say, ‘Say the following phrase: I am very afraid for my life. I am afraid for my life.’ OK,” the president said during a speech in Michigan on Thursday. “And then I look at the guy. He looks like he just got out of the ring. He’s a heavyweight champion of the world. It’s a big fat con job.”
Immigration officials aim to return as many as 300 migrants a day by the end the week. However, the plan has so far been slow to develop. In San Ysidro, for example, the Mexican government has been willing to take in up to 120 asylum seekers a week, but the U.S. has only sent back 40 per week during the first six weeks.
The entire effort is part of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which does not apply to Mexican nationals or children.
The plans come as the Trump administration has embarked on several different initiatives to curb illegal immigration.
Trump declared a national emergency, allowing him to allocate billions more in funding for a wall construction at the southern border. The State Department on Saturday announced it will work to withhold around $700 million in financial aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras for — as Trump argues — failing to stem the flow of illegal immigrants leaving their counties.
Trump has also warned he prepared to shut the U.S.-Mexico border down completely.