The Trump administration is currently trying to cut a deal with Mexico where asylum seekers would possibly conduct their interviews in the U.S. and then return to Mexico. The Immigration and Nationality Act does allow the U.S. to send applicants back to Mexico, but the same law also allows asylum seekers who pass their credible fear interview to remain in the U.S. Thus, the law exempts the very applicants that the Trump administration wishes to prevent from entering the country.
According to various news reports, the administration has not thought this policy through. Immigration law attorneys point out that the U.S. cannot just throw people out and tell them to wait.
It would also create a chaotic and untenable situation for the already over-burdened immigration court system, which has a backlog of a million cases. Creating an additional organizational headache, the proposal could also mean that the U.S. would need to set up immigration courts in Mexico, provide busing or utilize video conferencing. Another concern is providing a safe place to stay in Mexico while asylum seekers await their due process.
Likely challenges to come
If the administration continues with this plan, it will likely face a serious and immediate challenge in federal court. Although there are no guarantees, it would seem that asylum seekers able to navigate the system or simply able to wait for the administration plan to fall apart will have a good chance to win their case against the flawed policy.
Asylum and immigration policies and guidelines are complicated. Moreover, under the current administration, they seem to change on a daily or hourly basis. An attorney who can keep up on the laws can be a tremendous asset to asylum seekers and their families as this process unfolds.