Asylum seekers at ports of entry continue to wait as applications are processed
This week Mexico initiated a new policy that would allow those waiting for asylum in the U.S to wait in Mexico as their applications are processed. However, dozens of migrants continue to wait along the international bridge in Brownsville.
“It’s been very difficult because I don’t have any family in Mexico and I live in this place. This place is not comfortable for anyone,” says a woman who fled violence in Kenya. She wishes to remain anonymous. She tells CBS 4 that for over a month, she and her niece have been waiting along the international bridge in Matamoros as their applications are processed.
Immigration advocates and attorneys believe having asylum seekers wait is part of a tactic from the Trump administration to not only delay but deny applications.
"It's another tactic by the Trump administration to not only delay but to also eventually be able to deny asylum applications to people," says immigration attorney, Jodie Goodwin. " I think it's ill-advised and it's probably illegal in terms of sending people back to Mexico to wait, especially if they're not safe. Given the level of generalized violence, it makes for a very dangerous situation because the migrants become a vulnerable target for kidnapping and extortion,” states Goodwin.
Goodwin adds that what is currently happening along the various ports of entry is something that has never been seen before. According to Goodwin, asylum seekers will usually wait about 8 weeks for an initial interview.
While Mexico’s recent policy is new and still remains unclear, Customs and Border Patrol Agents say this is a way to alleviate the congestion at the ports of entry after local agencies announced they were at capacity in terms of asylum requests.
Some of those currently seeking asylum tell CBS 4 they are not giving up hope.