U.S. Starts Returning Asylum Seekers at Arizona Border to Mexico

On January 2, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that migrants who illegally enter the United States through the Arizona-Mexico border will be sent back to Mexico while they wait for their asylum case hearing in a U.S. immigration court. The government agency expanded the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program—known as the “Remain in Mexico” program—in Arizona.

Before this new rule, migrants seeking asylum in the United States through Arizona’s Tucson Sector were transported to El Paso Point of Entry before being taken to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, to wait for their case to be heard in court. Now, they will be sent back at the Nogales Port of Entry, south of Tucson.

Along with this new addition, the following are the other ports of entry that practice MPP returns:

  • San Diego (CA)
  • Calexico (CA)
  • El Paso (TX)
  • Eagle Pass (TX)
  • Brownsville (TX)
  • Laredo (TX)

So far, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sent about 30 migrants back to Mexico at the Nogales Port of Entry—with plans to be relocated to a shelter that has a capacity of approximately 400 people. During their stay, the Mexican government will provide them with humanitarian care and protection.

Since the MPP policy became effective in January 2019, the DHS said over 56,000 illegal migrants have returned to Mexico. Most of them passed through the other ports of entry listed above.

Critics of the MMP program claim migrants who fled their home countries and sent back into dangerous Mexican border towns became subject to extortion, robbery, and kidnapping. According to a Human Rights First report released in December, there were at least 636 public reports of violence against migrants who returned to Mexico, often involving rape and torture.

If you or someone you know needs information and guidance concerning an asylum or refugee matter in Houston, our legal team at Simon Law Group, PLLC is committed fighting for your right to asylum. We have years of experience helping individuals and families facing complex immigration matters by providing them with effective and personalized legal solutions.

For more information about our legal services, contact us today at (713) 839-0639 and schedule a consultation to discuss your legal options with our Houston immigration attorney.

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