The Trump administration has reportedly made a deal with Mexico’s incoming government to require all asylum-seekers coming from the south of the border to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims go through court.
The Washington Post, citing Mexican officials and senior members of president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s transition team, reported Saturday that the Remain in Mexico plan would require asylum applicants to stay in Mexico, therefore ending the “catch-and-release” practice whereby those seeking asylum are allowed to stay in the U.S.
Should the policy be implemented, it would mark a significant victory for President Trump, whose tough immigration stance — including his promises to end catch-and-release and build a wall — has formed a central part of his political platform both before and after his election.
The currently unsigned agreement strives to control how many migrants are allowed to stay on the American side of the border during the asylum process, according to The Wall Street Journal, which confirmed the Post report.
The White House did not comment on the reported deal on Saturday.
“President Trump has developed a strong relationship with the incoming Obrador Administration, and we look forward to working with them on a wide range of issues,” Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News.
Trump has been battling with international pressure, a tight control of the Senate, and significant judicial pushback over a number of his immigration policies.
This week a federal judge in San Francisco barred the administration from refusing asylum to those who cross the southern border illegally, after the White House said that anyone crossing illegally would be declared ineligible for asylum.
The deal also comes as Trump has set his sights in recent weeks on the latest migrant caravan to travel through Honduras and Guatemala toward the U.S. southern border. He has expressed determination to stop the caravan reaching the U.S., deploying troops to the border and warning of consequences should countries assist the caravan in its journey.
The reported deal is likely to be seen by Trump’s supporters as proof that his hardline rhetoric has resulted in success. The Post reported that the deal took shape in Houston during a meeting including Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s incoming foreign minister, and top U.S. officials such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
However, incoming Mexican Interior Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero told The Post that the deal would be a “short-term solution.”
“The medium- and long-term solution is that people don’t migrate,” Sánchez Cordero said. “Mexico has open arms and everything, but imagine, one caravan after another after another, that would also be a problem for us.”
Fox News’ Marta Dhanis and Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report.
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