Thursday, November 28, 2019

President Trump is expanding the ‘remain in Mexico’ policy to cover the Arizona border

Concerned about the rising number of migrant families crossing from Mexico into the Arizona desert, Department of Homeland Security officials are preparing to bus border crossers more than 300 miles east into Texas so they can deposit them in Mexico instead of releasing them in the United States, according to two Trump administration officials.
Homeland Security officials said Friday that they will expand the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program to the Tucson region, one of the last major areas on the border that has not been diverting asylum seekers to Mexico to await their U.S. immigration court hearings.
Officials deployed the program after a modest uptick in family crossings in the Tucson sector at a time when the number of migrants crossing the border is declining almost everywhere else. Officials view MPP as their chief line of defense on the border and worried that smugglers had identified Tucson as a weak spot because officials have been unable to stand up shelters and court hearings on the border in Arizona.
DHS spokeswoman Heather Swift said DHS is “strengthening” MPP in Tucson and in the Del Rio, Tex., sector, which started sending migrants to Mexico last month. She did not respond to requests for additional details about the plans.
“The department is continually assessing MPP and making operational changes in response to emerging trends and threats, and we always consider additional return points and options,” Swift said in an email. She said smugglers “are sophisticated organizations that are constantly trying to get around the effective tools we have in place across the border.”
Officials estimate DHS will send at least one busload each day from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Tucson sector to the Texas border city of El Paso, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the internal plans. Migrants will have interviews to determine if they would be at risk in Mexico, and if not, they will be sent to Ciudad Juárez to await their U.S. immigration court hearings. The first bus was scheduled to run to El Paso on Friday.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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