President Donald Trump on Saturday stated that migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. will be forced to stay in Mexico until their requests are individually processed. However, an incoming Mexican government official claimed his country had not agreed to such a policy.
“Migrants at the Southern Border will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court. We only will allow those who come into our Country legally,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“Other than that our very strong policy is Catch and Detain. No ‘Releasing’ into the U.S. All will stay in Mexico,” he continued. “If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will CLOSE our Southern Border.”
“All will stay in Mexico. If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will CLOSE our Southern Border. There is no way that the United States will, after decades of abuse, put up with this costly and dangerous situation anymore!”
Mexico’s soon-to-be interior minister stated on Saturday that there was no agreement between the two countries to keep asylum seekers in Mexico.
“There is no agreement of any sort between the incoming Mexican government and the U.S. government,” Olga Sanchez told The Associated Press in a statement.
Sanchez, who will take office with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration on Dec. 1, contradicted an earlier statement given to The Washington Post that said the U.S. and Mexico had agreed to such a policy as a “short-term” solution.
Her statement to the AP did not address the discrepancy between her two comments.
The President’s tweets on Saturday served as confirmation of a report that his administration was considering a policy termed “Remain in Mexico” that would force migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to wait in Mexico, breaking with current policy.
Under the policy, asylum seekers would have to establish a “reasonable fear” of persecution in Mexico to be allowed into the U.S. while their claims are processed, according to memos obtained by the Post.
The measure is the latest effort from the Trump administration to crack down on immigration, particularly in response to a so-called “caravan” of Honduran, Guatemalan and El Salvadorian migrants making its way toward the U.S. border from Central America.