Mexico to welcome Central American immigrants after the Trump administration turned them away

Mexico won’t accept minors and elders, even though they are the most vulnerable sector

Mexico to welcome Central American immigrants after the Trump administration turned them away
The Trump administration will allow border authorities to quickly remove migrants on public health grounds - Photo: José Luis González/REUTERS
English 23/03/2020 12:58 Reuters Mexico City Actualizada 13:08

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On March 20, Donald Trump said the United States would swiftly return immigrants who attempt to enter the country illegally from Mexico and Canada while also closing the borders to “non-essential” travel to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.

Trump said that: “In normal times, these massive flows place a vast burden on our healthcare system, but during a global pandemic, they threaten to create a perfect storm that would spread the infection to our border agents, migrants and to the public at large.”

Officials said the Trump administration would allow border authorities to quickly remove immigrants on public health grounds, without allowing them to enter U.S. border facilities or undergo legal proceedings.

Trump added that non-Mexican migrants will not be sent to Mexico under the measure.

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that agricultural workers with temporary visas to enter the U.S. would still be allowed to cross from Mexico.

 “We’re going to make sure that we do everything we can to keep that part of our economic lifeblood working between our two countries,” Pompeo said. “We want to make sure to keep commerce between Canada, the United States and Mexico alive, functional and prepared for the day this economy comes bouncing back like we expected.”

In Mexico City, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard echoed the sentiment that trade, work, and medical trips would not be restricted under the new measures.

Around 3 million personal vehicles crossed legally each month in 2019 between San Diego, California, and the Mexican border city of Tijuana, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation data.

After the Trump administration barred immigrants at its border, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the country will allow a limited number of Central American immigrants seeking asylum in the United States to legally enter Mexico in order to minimize the number of people at U.S. border stations.

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According to authorities, Mexican immigration authorities will evaluate who is allowed into Mexico on a case by case basis and said the measure will only apply to people from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

“We’re evaluating the regular admission of some nationals from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala who are presented to the Mexican immigration authorities, in order to minimize crowding at U.S. Border Patrol stations,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Fewer than 100 people per day will be allowed into Mexico, it added.

Minors, senior citizens, among others will not be accepted. Also, people from countries other than those mentioned, nor migrants previously in the custody of the U.S. authorities will not be accepted,” it added.

“We’re not sending them to Mexico, we’re sending them back to their own countries,” he said. IN 2019, his administration instituted a policy that has sent back some 60,000 immigrants requesting asylum to wait on the Mexican side of the border for U.S. immigration court hearings. Administration officials did not discuss at the press conference what would happen with that program, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols.

Although Mexico and the United States suspended non-essential travel at the border, the measure will not affect trade.

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