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Groups say shelters at capacity as 'Remain in Mexico' policy restarts

Posted at 6:03 AM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-10 09:07:16-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The "Remain in Mexico" policy has restarted under the Biden administration, and on Wednesday, the administration sent two migrants back to Mexico, from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez.

The policy requires migrants to wait in Mexico until their asylum court date. It was a policy first implemented by the Trump administration.

Immigrant rights groups that work with shelters in Tijuana say this policy will only make conditions south of the border worse.

The administration hasn't specified how many migrants will be sent back, but they did confirm in addition to El Paso, six other locations will process returns.

Dulce Garcia is an immigration attorney and the executive director for Border Angels. Border Angels supports 17 shelters in Tijuana. Garcia says the shelters are at capacity and some migrants are being forced to sleep on the street.

The Biden administration ended the policy earlier this year but had to reinstate it after a lawsuit by Texas and Missouri.

Local activists say the administration, not only reinstated it but expanded the program to include Haitians and other nationalities.

Earlier in the week, when Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited San Ysidro, he said the administration has already appealed the judge's ruling, but Mayorkas did not explain why the program was expanded.

For now, Garcia says shelters in Tijuana are waiting for support that she says was promised to Mexico by the Biden administration but it is unknown how the shelter are going to receive that support.

ABC 10News did reach out to Republican Rep. Darrell Issa for comment on the policy's reinstatement but so far haven't heard back.