Mexico is building a huge shelter for illegal immigrants on its northern border. The facility will allow these people to await for a response to their asylum applications in the United States.

In the city of Tijuana, bordering San Diego (California), the Mexican federal government is remodeling an old complex of small businesses with the idea of housing some 4,000 illegal immigrants from Central America and the Caribbean. The federal liaison for the state of Baja California, Alejandro Ruiz, announced that the new shelter could be ready next week, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The initiative is part of an agreement with Washington called the “Migrants Protection Protocol” (MPP), said the VOA.

This protocol establishes that illegal immigrants who want to apply for asylum in the United States must remain in Mexico while they wait for a response. In this way, the White House seeks to provide relief to refugee centers within U.S. territory.

In fact, since this plan was implemented in January 2019, the Latin American country has received some 20,000 illegal immigrants, the U.S. agency said.

The background

More than 700 officers assist the Border Patrol as it faces an unprecedented security crisis. (CBP.gov)

Specialist David Inserra, of The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, points out that the MPP seeks to “close the gaps surrounding the asylum system” that Donald Trump’s presidency inherited from previous administrations.

He points out that one of the tactics most implemented by immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras was that as soon as they crossed the border illegally and were detained, they could apply for asylum to avoid immediate deportation.

However, he points out, only a small percentage of them qualified for asylum.

“But asylum is often not the real goal: those who make it through the initial filter are often released in the United States,” said Inserra, arguing that this situation is aggravated by several legal loopholes, such as the Flores agreement and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which require the release of unaccompanied children and adults with children.

“The result is that many ‘asylum-seekers’ will simply disappear, many of them will not even bother to apply for asylum after they have been released,” he added.

The United States currently has a backlog of more than 700,000 pending asylum cases. “It serves neither the interests of the United States nor those of asylum seekers with legitimate claims,” Inserra says, emphasizing the convenience of applying the MPP to decompress the crisis at the border

“This partnership with Mexico is a critical piece of the solution and one for which the Trump administration should be praised,” the specialist concludes.