Reuters: Asylum seekers in Mexico face uncertainty after court halts Trump policy

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on telegram

Neither US government nor the more than 1,000 awaiting hearings know what will happen after ruling on ‘Remain in Mexico’

Seven Central American families living temporarily in Mexico appeared in a San Diego immigration court on Tuesday to plead for asylum in the United States.

Mindful of a federal court ruling the day before that halted the Trump administration’s policy of making asylum seekers wait in Mexico, the judge repeatedly asked the US government lawyer what would happen to these families now.

“I do not have an answer,” replied the lawyer, Kathryn Stuever.

Neither the US government nor the more than 1,000 people awaiting asylum hearings in Tijuana and other cities on the US-Mexico border knows what will happen next to families already returned to Mexico by the Trump administration.

The ruling by a federal judge on Monday made clear that the 11 plaintiffs who sued the government over the policy would be brought back to the US to press their asylum claims. It also made clear that, for now, new asylum seekers could not be forced to await resolution of their cases south of the border.

But the hundreds of people now living in shelters, from tents inside warehouses to more established settings, are in legal limbo – a situation some say frightens them because they feel vulnerable to kidnappings, violence and serious illness.

The migrants are from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua and 286 of them are children. Most do not have legal representation, according to immigration advocates.

In interviews in recent days, several told Reuters of robberies, violence or attempts to kidnap their children.

The news agency was not able to independently verify their claims. But those interviewed said they did not feel safe in Tijuana and were scared to leave the shelters temporarily housing them.

The court ruling does not go into effect until Friday and the White House said it would appeal, which could put the decision on hold. The administrationhas contended that the asylum seekers are pushing the immigration system to its limits. The appeals process could take months, perhaps extending through the 2020 presidential campaign, legal experts said.

In court Tuesday, Veronica Guadalupe Galdamez, 32, appeared with her two children and her partner. They asked for more time to get a lawyer. In court, her partner claimed fear of being returned to Mexico because “someone tried to take one of the children”.

Galdamez said in an interview this week that she fled El Salvador in 2018 after gang threats. Within minutes of returning to Mexico after her first US court hearing on 1 April, she said, two men tried to steal her four-year-old son.

While it was not possible independently to verify her story, the dangers of Tijuana are generally well known. With 138 murders for every 100,000 residents in 2018, Tijuana was the most violent city in the world outside a war zone, according to a recent study by Mexico’s Security, Justice and Peace research group. San Salvador ranked 24th, with a rate of 50, the study showed.

After appearing in court on Tuesday, Galdamez and her family were referred to an interview with an asylum officer. Her family’s fate was uncertain.

Others in the immigration system pipeline remained in Mexico on Tuesday, wondering what the ruling meant for their futures.

Carmen Zepeda, 45, from El Salvador, was returned to Tijuana last month and has her first court hearing on 22 April. She fled San Salvador following a death threat against her son and domestic abuse by her husband, she said.

“Now we’re in danger here as well,” she said. “I’m praying they give me the opportunity to cross.”

More Immigration News
Immigration Detention Process
Immigration Detention Process

In the US, non-citizens can be arrested for various reasons and placed in Immigration Detention. The detention of immigrants in the US is different from being arrested and simply going to any holding facility. The process prior to and after detention is different as well. Many people who find themselves detained do not have the access or support of legal counsel, which is why if you or someone you know is detained – immediately find a lawyer.

Know Your Rights!
Know Your Rights!

In the midst of widespread fear by many, as ICE raids are approaching and occurring, it is important to know what actions to take and what actions to avoid. President Trump has postponed a massive ICE operation that could have targeted thousands of families who have received deportation orders. Whether a US citizen or not, every person in this country has certain basic rights. Having a detailed plan of action for you and your family is important to ensure maximum safety during this time.

USCIS Changes Their Fees Charged for Most Applications
USCIS Changes Their Fees Charged for Most Applications

On August 3, 2020, USCIS  has set a list of changes in the fees for many application forms. This new rule significantly alters the USCIS fee schedule by adjusting fees by a weighted average increment of 20 percent. The new list of fees has several consequences, such as multiple fees for nonimmigrant worker petitions and limiting the number of beneficiaries for each form.

Let us work on your case

Or simply fill out the form and one of our attorneys will get back to you pretty shortly.

Sethi Footer
We're Here
To Assist You

Subscribe to Sethi & Mazaheri’s monthly newsletter and receive important immigration-related  updates.

Skip to content