Department of Homeland Security said it plans to begin sending migrants back to Mexico this week.
The first Central American asylum seeker returns to Honduras as the United States enforces stricter immigration policies, an official at Mexico's national migration institute said Tuesday.
The return of a Honduran man was carried out under a U.S. policy dubbed the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) by which the United States will return non-Mexican migrants who cross the U.S. southern border back to Mexico while their asylum requests are processed in U.S. immigration courts.
The United States is not expected to send any other Central American migrants to Mexico on Tuesday, a Mexican immigration official told Reuters under the condition of anonymity.
However, Department of Homeland Security said it plans to begin sending migrants back to Mexico this week.
U.S. authorities are expected to send as many as 20 people per day through the Mexican border city of Tijuana and gradually start sending people back through the other legal ports of entry, Mexico’s foreign ministry said on Friday.
The custom of allowing asylum seekers to remain in the states while their case is processed by immigration judges has been retired due to a backlog of over 800,000 cases.
The U.S. policy is aimed at curbing the increasing number of families arriving mostly from Central America to request asylum who say they fear returning home because of threats of violence there. The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump says many of the claims are not valid.
Mexico has said it will accept the return of certain people who have a date to appear in a U.S. court, but will reject those who have health problems, are unaccompanied minors or would be in danger in Mexican territory.