POLITICS

Contradicting Trump, Incoming Mexico Government Denies Making Deal To Host Asylum-Seekers

Mexico's future interior minister said there was "no agreement of any sort" with the U.S.
11/25/2018 07:33 AM ET
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Updated Nov 26, 2018

President Donald Trump suggested on Saturday that asylum seekers would be allowed to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed through the U.S. immigration system — but Mexico’s incoming government has denied making any such deal.

“There is no agreement of any sort between the incoming Mexican government and the U.S. government,” future Interior Minister Olga Sanchez told Reuters on Saturday, contradicting Trump and an earlier Washington Post report that said a deal ― albeit an informal one ― had been struck between the two governments.

The Post had quoted Sanchez as saying the administration of Mexico’s President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who will take office on Dec. 1, had “for now” agreed to the so-called “Remain in Mexico” plan.

Sanchez was quoted by the paper as saying that Mexico would allow asylum seekers to stay in the country as a “short-term solution.”

Following the publication of the Post’s report, however, Sanchez back-pedaled on those remarks. She told Reuters that Obrador’s administration was “in talks” with the U.S., but stressed officials who weren’t yet in office couldn’t formally make any agreements.

Seven-year-old Honduran migrant Genesis Belen Mejia Flores waves an American flag at two U.S. border control helicopters flying overhead near a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico.
(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Reuters reported that Sanchez “did not explicitly rule out” that Mexico could allow Central American caravan migrants ― thousands of whom have arrived in Tijuana, just south of California ― to wait in the country while their claims are processed in the U.S.

Sanchez did, however, say that plans for Mexico to assume “safe third country” status had been “ruled out.” Under a “safe third” agreement, the U.S. could force migrants to seek asylum in Mexico.

Trump said in a pair of Saturday evening tweets that migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border “will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court.”

“No ‘Releasing’ into the U.S. … All will stay in Mexico,” the president wrote.

His tweets were interpreted as possible confirmation of the posible deal between the U.S. and Obrador’s administration.

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum declared a humanitarian crisis last week as approximately 5,000 Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty arrived in the city ― to the chagrin of many locals. 

Gastélum said on Friday that he’d asked the United Nations for aid to help with the influx of asylum seekers.