Three asylum seekers are going to be returned to Mexico after appearing in U.S. immigration court on Tuesday. However, they asked officials to allow them to stay in the United States because they are worried about their safety while waiting out the process in Mexico.
The appeal is a new path by immigrants in response to President Donald Trump’s recent policy that needs people looking for protection in the United States to wait for their U.S. court dates in Mexican border towns, part of his hard-line stance to stop migration.
Around 240 people, which include families have been returned to Mexico since late January under the program, labelled as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), according to U.S. officials.
Six Central American immigrants who crossed from Tijuana through the San Ysidro port of entry had their cases heard at a San Diego courthouse during the program’s first day of hearings on Tuesday. All of the immigrants were told to go back to Mexico.
Robyn Barnard, a lawyer from the nonprofit group Human Rights First, stated that she requested officials to let her two Honduran clients stay in the United States. Both of them were afraid to return to Tijuana and are waiting for their next hearings in early August.
Tijuana, like much of Mexico’s northern border zone, has seen large-scale bloodshed since the federal government started using the military against drug cartels ten years ago.
After the hearing Barnard told reporters that Mexico isn’t a safe place for people, and there are many vulnerable groups who are at risk. She stated that her clients would stay at a U.S. Port of Entry on Tuesday night, before their interviews with asylum officers.
U.S. officials have stated that they are working with the Mexican government to certify that migrants are safe while they wait in Mexico. The American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups are bringing legal charges against federal court to stop the MPP program, which is part of a series of steps the Trump administration has taken to restrict the flow of mostly Central American immigrants trying to enter the United States.