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San Diego Immigration Courts Lead Nation In Returning Asylum-Seekers To Mexico

Honduran asylum seekers enter the U.S. at San Diego's Otay Mesa port of entry...

Photo by Moises Castillo AP

Above: Honduran asylum seekers enter the U.S. at San Diego's Otay Mesa port of entry, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico.

A new report shows the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which is also known as Migrant Protection Protocols, has dramatically expanded. San Diego immigration courts now lead the country in the number of asylum-seekers sent back to Mexico to await their court hearings.

The new study by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) shows almost 3,500 asylum-seekers were sent back to Mexico in July after being processed at either San Ysidro or Calexico ports of entries.

Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

This is part of a major ramping up of the program across the southern border. Since the beginning of the program in January, 10,667 asylum-seekers have been sent back to Mexico from California. Across the entire southern border, almost 12,000 people have been sent back to wait out their asylum claims in Mexico.

RELATED: Asylum Hearings Rescheduled As Judges Prioritize ‘Remain-In-Mexico’ Program

Just 1% of those sent back from California have been represented in court by a lawyer. While waiting in Mexico, asylum-seekers have faced limited employment options and been the victims of both crime and price-gouging.

Last week, the Department of Justice announced that it was moving all of the cases involving asylum-seekers in the "Remain in Mexico" program to a so-called “rocket docket.” That means their cases will be heard much sooner than asylum-seekers who are not currently in detention.

The Future of the “Remain in Mexico” is in doubt. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hold a hearing on October 1st on whether to follow a lower court’s decision to immediately stop the program.

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

In ten years, one in four people living in San Diego County will be a senior citizen. Plus, the county is asking voters to check their registration after “motor voter” problems, which led to nearly 84,000 duplicate voter records statewide. Also ahead on today’s podcast: San Diego immigration courts lead the nation in returning asylum-seekers to Mexico and horse deaths are down at Del Mar this summer, but so is attendance.

Aired: August 28, 2019 | Transcript

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