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  • A Central American asylum-seeker stands on the street in Tijuana, Mexico, Jan. 30, 2019.

    A Central American asylum-seeker stands on the street in Tijuana, Mexico, Jan. 30, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 January 2019

The return of Hondurans was carried out under the U.S. Migrant Protection Protocols.

About one dozen Central American asylum-seekers were sent back to Mexico on Jan. 30 as part of United States President Donald Trump's Administration new hardened immigration policy.

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US: Central American Asylum-Seekers to be Returned to Tijuana

Now, the returned Central American migrants will have to wait in the Mexican border city of Tijuana to conclude their immigration trial before the U.S. courts. This mandatory displacement of migrants, to Mexico, is part of the implementation of Washington's Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).

According to the norms of the MPP, migrants who enter or request admission to the United States - illegally or without proper documentation - could be sent back to Mexico to wait during the course of their immigration proceedings.

The U.S. policy is allegedly aimed at curbing the increasing number of families arriving, mostly from Central America, to request asylum due to the fear of returning home because of violence. The Trump Administration, however, says many of the migrants' claims are not valid.

Immigration lawyers have warned that the MPP only suits to worsen the already-bad humanitarian crisis because the new procedure hinders access to legal advice as well as puts due process - which states all persons have rights in the U.S. - at risk.

"It is clearly an attack on asylum-seekers coming from Central America and Mexico because they are taking away the right of due process established by law, which means a debacle for the asylum system," Victor Nieblas, a Californian lawyer, said.

Immigration advocates also express fear that Mexico is not safe for asylum-seeker families, who are regularly kidnapped by criminal gangs and smugglers.

Leidy Perez-Davis, a counselor with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), pointed out that the first obstacle, faced by applicants, is that would-be migrants are not allowed access to a legal advisor during the first two evaluations carried out by U.S. federal authorities at the border.

The process adversely affects the case of the migrant because, besides showing reasons to request asylum, the applicant must prove that his or her life is in danger if he or she is forced to return to Mexico.

"The danger in the border areas of Mexico is real, but getting proof of this will be very difficult, even for Mexicans themselves," Nieblas explained.

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