Administration deal returns migrants deep into Mexico; New funds for wall

by WorldTribune Staff, January 15, 2020

The Trump administration is curtailing the policy of releasing immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and is instead sending them deep into Mexico.

Mexican migrants are being returned to the Mexican interior. / U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo by Jerry Glaser

The new policy is aimed at making it more difficult for repeat offenders to try and cross the border by returning them hundreds of miles away.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that it began running flights from Tucson, Arizona to Guadalajara, Mexico in December. DHS said the immigrants being returned are all Mexican nationals from non-border Mexican states who typically have either recently illegally entered the U.S., or who had gone through the court system but were ruled to be deportable by an immigration judge.

DHS said the move had been requested by the Mexican government.

“This is another example of the Trump administration working with the government of Mexico to address the ongoing border security crisis,” DHS spokeswoman Heather Swift told Fox News. “Mexico has been a great partner in stopping illegal migration before they reach our border and in standing up the Migrant Protection Protocol which has allowed us to provide court dates to more than 55,000 individuals.”

The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain-in-Mexico” policy, sees migrants (from all countries south of the border) returned to Mexico to await their immigration hearings — ending the practice of “catch-and-release” where immigrants were released into the U.S. interior to await their hearings.

The policy was expanded over the summer and was strengthened at Tucson and Del Rio sectors in recent months. Those being flown into the Mexican interior are not part of the MPP program.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump will use his national emergency powers to transfer another $7.2 billion from Pentagon accounts in 2020 to build the border wall, The Washington Post reported.

The Post’s Jan. 13 report said the Pentagon funds “would be extracted, for the second year in a row, from military construction projects and counternarcotics funding. According to the plans, the funding would give the government enough money to complete [a total of] approximately 885 miles of new fencing by spring 2022, far more than the 509 miles the administration has slated for the U.S. border with Mexico.”

The new transfer of funds, if not blocked by Congress or the courts, would increase Trump’s border wall spending to $18.4 billion. So far, the Trump administration said a little over 100 miles of upgraded “wall system” have been built and the process of planning and building another 350 miles is underway.

A federal appeals court released $3.6 billion in border wall funding on Jan. 8 that had been blocked by a lawsuit.

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