Nearly 19,000 asylum seekers from Central America are now stuck in Mexican border cities waiting to be processed as the Trump administration seeks to limit immigration.
That was the major finding of a new report by the University of California San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies and the University of Texas at Austin’s Robert Strauss Center.
In a process known as “metering,” Customs and Border Protection officials tell arriving asylum seekers that U.S. ports are full and that they need to wait their turn in Mexico, while simultaneously accepting limited numbers of asylum seekers daily for processing.
In response to the growing number of asylum seekers in border cities, Mexican authorities created informal waiting lists, and the number has grown by 14,000 in the past three months.
“Our latest report shows that the situation in border cities is getting worse over time,” said Savitri Arvey, a graduate student in the master of public policy program at the School of Global Policy and Strategy and researcher at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies.
“We found that migrant shelters across the entire border are over capacity, and asylum seekers have begun arriving in smaller cities without the infrastructure to receive them,” he said. “This has left thousands of asylum seekers to rent hotel rooms or even sleep on the streets, increasing their vulnerability for predation by organized crime or other opportunistic actors.”
Tijuana and Mexicali across the border from San Diego and Imperial County have among the longest waiting lists.
The full report is available at available online.
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