MEXICO CITY, July 12 (Reuters) – Mexico is opposed to a U.S. request to make people seeking asylum in the United States apply in Mexico instead, according to a source and a briefing note, in a setback to U.S. efforts to deepen cooperation on immigration before a leftist president takes office.
U.S. officials believe a deal known as a “Safe Third Country Agreement,” could prove a deterrent to thousands of Central Americans who travel through Mexico each year to seek U.S. asylum, clogging immigration courts and causing a headache for U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.
Yet despite growing U.S. pressure for it to accept the treaty, Mexico views the proposal as a red line it will not cross, according to the briefing note prepared for Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray for a meeting he had with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in Guatemala on Tuesday.
“Mexico is not in the position to accept a safe third country agreement, as the United States has proposed on previous occasions,” the note says.
“Mexico has made a significant effort to provide Central Americans detained on (Mexico’s) southern border with greater information on asylum, and recently adopted measures which allow asylum applicants to work while their case is resolved.”
The safe third country proposal would force asylum-seekers who arrive at the U.S. land border via Mexico to apply to stay in Mexico, likely as refugees south of the border.
Many of the 2,000 or so foreign children taken from their parents recently under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy against illegal immigration were separated from parents seeking asylum in the United States.
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