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Immigration

First Central American Migrant Offered Asylum In Guatemala Returns Home to Honduras Instead

Erwin Ardon, the first Honduran migrant sent back home under new restrictions, meets a relative as he arrives to his home, in Honduras November 23,2019. (Jorge Cabrera/Reuters)

The first Central American migrant offered asylum in Guatemala, under an arrangement between that country and the U.S., has decided to return to his home in Honduras, according to the Associated Press.

Erwin José Ardón Montoya, 23, travelled to the U.S. in September in a bid to see his newborn daughter. The daughter’s mother had chosen to migrate to the U.S. while still pregnant.

“I wanted to see my daughter, to help her,” Ardón Montoya told his parents through tears as he arrived at his family’s home in Trujillo, Honduras.

Ardón Montoya was caught by federal agents in El Paso, Texas. He was offered a job and a place to live in Guatemala, but chose to return to his family.

The 23-year-old told the Associated Press he might try to enter the U.S. again after Christmas.

The Trump administration has enacted a host of policies meant to curb illegal immigration to the U.S., including placing restrictions on asylum seekers who enter the U.S. illegally. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced a policy change preventing illegal asylum seekers from obtaining work permits until their applications have been approved.

The Department of Homeland Security has also instituted the so-called “remain in Mexico” policy, whereby asylum seekers who enter the U.S. illegally are required to wait in Mexico while their applications are processed.

While some of the Trump administration’s immigration policies have been challenged in court, a senior Border Patrol official warned in October that striking down those policies could bring the flow of illegal immigration to “crisis level.”

“We will go back, mark the words, we will go back to the crisis level that we had before,” said the Border Patrol’s chief of law enforcement operations Brian Hastings. “It is kind of a new norm. We’re at risk at any time.”

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