Confusion at the U.S.-Mexico Border; ICE is Unable to Answer Basic Questions About Trump Administration’s New Asylum Policy

According to reporting from Colorlines, legal representatives for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are struggling to answer many basic questions about the Trump Administration’s so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers. Desperate migrants who are seeking asylum in Southern California are increasingly being forced to deal with a confusing and potentially dangerous situation in Northern Mexico.

The “Remain in Mexico” Policy is a Logistical Mess

In January, the Trump Administration announced a plan requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while they await their hearing. This is a bad policy for a number of different reasons. One of the major problems with the “Remain in Mexico” program is that all official immigration hearings  must still take place within the United States. In practice, this means that migrants who are preparing to attend their asylum hearing are required to present themselves to ICE at the San Ysidro port of entry on the morning of their court date. From there, they will be transported nearly 20 miles north, across the U.S. border into San Diego. The wholly unnecessary and ineffective “Remain in Mexico” policy is ill-planned. Many logistical errors are being made by overwhelmed immigration officers.   

Mistakes are Being Made

Alarmingly, there have been several reports of major paperwork errors. As an example, journalists from CNN found an asylum-seeker who had received paperwork with two conflicting dates. The migrant was told to appear before an immigration judge on March 20th, but also told to appear for transportation into the United States on March 30th. These types of simple administrative mistakes are serious problems for asylum-seekers who generally only have very limited access to American immigration lawyers. In some cases, migrants are only being allowed a brief conversation with an immigration attorney prior to their hearing.

There are Deep Worries Over Migrant Safety in Northern Mexico

Dealing with the mistakes and the complexity of this new policy is far more than simply a frustration for desperate migrants — many of whom made a long and harrowing journey from Central America through Mexico. There are also deep fears that Mexico is not a safe place for these people. Late last year, the death of two teenage migrants in Tijuana rocked the community. There have been many other reports of violence. As one immigration attorney who is working with the asylum seekers explained to reporters, this is an urgent situation and getting it right is a “matter of life or death.”

Contact Our California Asylum Attorney For Immediate Assistance

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our dedicated Los Angeles asylum attorney is a strong and committed advocate for asylum seekers. If you or your family member is applying for asylum in Southern California, we are available to help. Please contact us today for a strictly confidential initial consultation. We represent clients in Los Angeles County and throughout the region. Call (213) 262-2000.