Policy shift means uneasy wait in Mexico for asylum seekers

 
 
Updated 3/15/2019 9:55 AM
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  • In this March 5, 2019, image, Ruth Aracely Monroy, center, looks out of the family's tent alongside her 10-month-old son, Joshua, as her husband, Juan Carlos Perla, left, passes inside a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. After fleeing violence in El Salvador and requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to await their hearing in San Diego. They were one of the first families to contend with a new policy that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.

    In this March 5, 2019, image, Ruth Aracely Monroy, center, looks out of the family's tent alongside her 10-month-old son, Joshua, as her husband, Juan Carlos Perla, left, passes inside a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. After fleeing violence in El Salvador and requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to await their hearing in San Diego. They were one of the first families to contend with a new policy that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts. Associated Press

  • In this March 5, 2019, image, Juan Carlos Perla kisses his 10-month-old son, Joshua, inside a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. After fleeing violence in El Salvador and requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to await their hearing in San Diego. They are one of the first families to contend with a new policy that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.

    In this March 5, 2019, image, Juan Carlos Perla kisses his 10-month-old son, Joshua, inside a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. After fleeing violence in El Salvador and requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to await their hearing in San Diego. They are one of the first families to contend with a new policy that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts. Associated Press

  • In this March 5, 2019, image, Juan Carlos Perla reacts as he and his wife, Ruth Aracely Monroy, left, searches for medicine in their tent for their 10-month-old son with a cold inside a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. Many asylum seekers are now forced to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.

    In this March 5, 2019, image, Juan Carlos Perla reacts as he and his wife, Ruth Aracely Monroy, left, searches for medicine in their tent for their 10-month-old son with a cold inside a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. Many asylum seekers are now forced to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts. Associated Press

  • In this March 5, 2019, image, Ruth Aracely Monroy walks with her sons as they pass two women in the red-light district of Tijuana, Mexico.

    In this March 5, 2019, image, Ruth Aracely Monroy walks with her sons as they pass two women in the red-light district of Tijuana, Mexico. Associated Press

  • In this March 5, 2019, image, Ruth Aracely Monroy helps her son, Carlos, with his jacket among tents set up inside a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. After fleeing violence in El Salvador and requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to wait for their hearing in San Diego. They became one of the first families to contend with a new policy that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.

    In this March 5, 2019, image, Ruth Aracely Monroy helps her son, Carlos, with his jacket among tents set up inside a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. After fleeing violence in El Salvador and requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to wait for their hearing in San Diego. They became one of the first families to contend with a new policy that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts. Associated Press

  • In this March 5, 2019, image, Juan Carlos Perla holds his 10-month-old son, Joshua, reflected in a mirror inside a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. “Our fear is that we lose our case and get deported” to El Salvador, Perla said. “That’s suicide for me, my wife and my children.”

    In this March 5, 2019, image, Juan Carlos Perla holds his 10-month-old son, Joshua, reflected in a mirror inside a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. “Our fear is that we lose our case and get deported” to El Salvador, Perla said. “That’s suicide for me, my wife and my children.” Associated Press

  • In this March 5, 2019, image, Ruth Aracely Monroy walks with her sons in Tijuana, Mexico. After fleeing violence in El Salvador and requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to wait for their hearing in San Diego. They were one of the first families to contend with a radical policy shift that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.

    In this March 5, 2019, image, Ruth Aracely Monroy walks with her sons in Tijuana, Mexico. After fleeing violence in El Salvador and requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to wait for their hearing in San Diego. They were one of the first families to contend with a radical policy shift that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts. Associated Press

  • In this March 5, 2019, image, Juan Carlos Perla looks out from the family's tent - a two-person tent where all five members of the family sleep - inside a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. “Our fear is that we lose our case and get deported” to El Salvador, he said. “That’s suicide for me, my wife and my children.”

    In this March 5, 2019, image, Juan Carlos Perla looks out from the family's tent - a two-person tent where all five members of the family sleep - inside a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. “Our fear is that we lose our case and get deported” to El Salvador, he said. “That’s suicide for me, my wife and my children.” Associated Press

  • In this March 5, 2019, image, Juan Carlos Perla and Ruth Aracely Monroy leave a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico with their sons. After fleeing El Salvador and requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to wait for their hearing in San Diego. They were one of the first families to contend with a new policy that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.

    In this March 5, 2019, image, Juan Carlos Perla and Ruth Aracely Monroy leave a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico with their sons. After fleeing El Salvador and requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to wait for their hearing in San Diego. They were one of the first families to contend with a new policy that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts. Associated Press

  • In this March 12, 2019, image, 10-month-old Joshua Perla looks out from the family's tent in a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. Asylum seekers are now forced to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts. They often struggle to find legal advice and say they feel unsafe. The Trump administration introduced the new policy in January amid a surge of asylum-seeking families from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador arriving at the Mexican border.

    In this March 12, 2019, image, 10-month-old Joshua Perla looks out from the family's tent in a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. Asylum seekers are now forced to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts. They often struggle to find legal advice and say they feel unsafe. The Trump administration introduced the new policy in January amid a surge of asylum-seeking families from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador arriving at the Mexican border. Associated Press

  • In this March 5, 2019, image, Juan Carlos Perla pushes his youngest son, Joshua, in a stroller along a street in Tijuana, Mexico. Perla’s experience suggests that a new policy forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico may be having its intended effect of discouraging asylum claims. Trump administration officials say they want to deter weak claims, freeing up judges to consider more deserving cases.

    In this March 5, 2019, image, Juan Carlos Perla pushes his youngest son, Joshua, in a stroller along a street in Tijuana, Mexico. Perla’s experience suggests that a new policy forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico may be having its intended effect of discouraging asylum claims. Trump administration officials say they want to deter weak claims, freeing up judges to consider more deserving cases. Associated Press

  • In this March 5, 2019, image, Ruth Aracely Monroy walks with her sons in Tijuana, Mexico. After requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to wait for their hearing in San Diego. They were one of the first families to contend with a new policy that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.

    In this March 5, 2019, image, Ruth Aracely Monroy walks with her sons in Tijuana, Mexico. After requesting asylum in the United States, the family was returned to Tijuana to wait for their hearing in San Diego. They were one of the first families to contend with a new policy that makes asylum seekers stay in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts. Associated Press

TIJUANA, Mexico -- More asylum seekers are being forced to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through clogged U.S. immigration court.

The Trump administration introduced the major policy change in January amid a surge of families from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador arriving at the Mexico border.

Some who are waiting in Mexico struggle to get settled and find legal advice, and say they feel unsafe.

Change is being introduced slowly, with only 240 people being returned to Tijuana from San Diego in the first six weeks. But the administration expanded its "Migrant Protection Protocols" strategy this week to a second border crossing, in Calexico, California, and officials say the practice will grow along the entire border.

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