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Central American migrants wait to cross to the US at the El Chaparral crossing port on the Mexican/US border Central American migrants wait to cross to the US at the El Chaparral crossing port on the Mexican/US border  (AFP or licensors)

US Court reverses policy for Central American migrants in Mexico

The US established Mexico Remain Policy, which holds Central American migrants in Mexico, while their asylum applications are being considered, is being directly challenged by a US Federal Court.

By James Blears

This decision comes from the ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It directly takes issue and disagrees with the Remain in Mexico Policy, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, which has been described as an essential immigration controlling tool by the Department of Homeland Security. They consider it strategically useful in plugging a loophole, which has become a gap. 

The law itself took effect and has been rigorously enforced since January 2019.  It applies to migrants entering Mexico through its Southern Frontier to stay put until their applications for asylum are considered and finally decided by US Immigration Authorities.  This process, which is often unsuccessful for the would-be migrants,  can take years, and the US argues that many skip the process and rapidly disappear into the vast as well as diverse United States. 

But Mexico has become swamped with hungry and homeless migrants, who are faced with the choice of staying put permanently or going home to an often uncertain and impoverished future. 

During the past months, Mexico has sent thousands of National Guard to patrol is Northern and Southern Borders, and this has significantly reduced migration flows.

This latest ruling which is seen as a test case is certain to be challenged by the US Supreme Court and the Trump Administration.

Listen to the report by James Blears
01 March 2020, 16:24