Mexico's Incoming Government Denies Striking "Remain In Mexico" Deal With Trump

Mexico's incoming government has denied striking a "Remain in Mexico" deal with President Trump which would require migrants applying for US asylum to wait in Mexico, according to Reuters

There is "no agreement of any type between the future government of Mexico and the United States," said Olga Sanchez Cordero, Mexico's incoming interior minister and top domestic policy official for president-elect Manuel Lopez, who takes office on Dec. 1. The statement contracts a Saturday report in the Washington Post.

Cordero told Reuters that the incoming government was in talks with the Trump administration, but made clear that they could not make any agreement since they are not yet in power. 

Sanchez ruled out that Mexico would be declared a “safe third country” for asylum claimants, following a Washington Post report of a deal with the Trump administration known as “Remain in Mexico,” which quoted her calling it a “short-term solution.”

The plan, according to the newspaper, foresees migrants staying in Mexico while their asylum claims in the United States are being processed, potentially ending a system Trump decries as “catch and release” that has until now often allowed those seeking refuge to wait on safer U.S. soil. -Reuters

Meanwhile, Mexico's incoming deputy interior minister Zoe Robledo said that the details of the "Remain in Mexico" plan were still under discussion. Robledo told Reuters, adding that the incoming government sought to find jobs for Central American migrants which are understaffed - such as maquila assembly plants where multinational corporations take advantage of cheap labor for the final stages of production. 

"What we’re aiming for is that people leaving their countries due to security issues or violence can find a place to stay in Mexico if that is their decision," Robledo added.

In a Saturday Tweet, Trump declared: "Migrants at the Southern Border will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court. We only will allow those who come into our Country legally. Other than that our very strong policy is Catch and Detain. No “Releasing” into the U.S.," adding "All will stay in Mexico" in a second tweet in which he threatened to close the southern US border if necessary. 

Trump's plan is "outright illegal" according to Jenna Gilbert, managing attorney for the Los Angeles office of Human Rights First, adding "I'm sure the administration will once more see itself in court." 

Sanchez, who said the situation of migrant caravans was “very delicate,” did not explicitly rule out that Mexico could keep caravan migrants on its soil while their U.S. asylum claims are processed. But she told Reuters that plans to assume “safe third country” status were “ruled out.” -Reuters

Asylum seekers would be required to claim refugee status in Mexico if it were to assume "safe third country" status, however migration activists have long argued that Mexico's is too dangerous to offer safe haven for migrants fleeing Central American violence.