The Trump administration is beginning flights to central Mexico to help alleviate the rise of Mexican migrants at the southern border, after the Mexican government reportedly requested the program.
“This is another example of the Trump Administration working with the Government of Mexico to address the ongoing border security crisis,” DHS spokeswoman Heather Swift told Fox News. “Mexico has been a great partner in stopping illegal migration before they reach our border and in standing up the Migrant Protection Protocol which has allowed us to provide court dates to more than 55,000 individuals.”
Beginning in December, the Department of Homeland Security started flights from Tucson to Guadalajara, with the goal of two flights of 250 migrants a week by the end of January.
Last month, reports showed that the number of Mexican nationals seeking asylum in the U.S. has risen dramatically over the last year, despite Central American migration numbers dropping as a result of Trump’s policies.
In coordination with the Mexican government, the administration has expanded its “Remain in Mexico” policy to keep asylum seekers from being released into the U.S. before a decision on their case. But the policy does not apply to Mexican nationals, and officials have reportedly been “metering” a small number of Mexican asylum seekers each day as they wait on the border.
The decision to shift people further away from the border reduces the likelihood of repeat offenses, and allows asylum seekers to receive services from the Mexican government, officials said.
Under Trump’s policies, migration numbers have steadily declined in recent months, with 32,858 apprehensions at the border in December, down from 114,000 in May.