SAN DIEGO (AP) – The head of the Department of Homeland Security has ordered border agents to prevent asylum seekers from entering the United States at the official junction with Mexico in 2018, undercut Public statements at the time they are welcome to do so, according to a government watchdog report released on Friday.
DHS Inspector General also found that people trying to apply for asylum at the four official crossroads have been moved to Mexico before having a chance to seek protection from persecution at home, contrary to U.S. immigration laws States. The US Customs and Border Protection has unused detention space at two intersections that could be used to handle asylum seekers, the internal watchdog said.
The 37-page report paints a stark contrast to previous accounts of how to keep people waiting in Mexico issued two years ago amid an unprecedented increase in asylum seekers. , including many Central American families. US authorities have said on numerous occasions that processing restrictions are the only reason why people have to wait in Mexico.
The routine ̵1; one of the many measures President Donald Trump has taken to limit asylum applications – has been suspended since March, when the administration temporarily completely suspended asylum, using coronavirus to calls for special powers under public health law.
Kirstjen Nielsen, who as DHS secretary in 2018 is dealing with a crisis over the administration’s decision to separate families at the border, repeatedly urged asylum seekers to enter ports of entry. , instead of entering illegally between official border gates. At the time, CBP was disapproving of people at official intersections, though Nielsen rejected those reports.
Chad Wolf, her chief of staff and now secretary, acted on Nielsen’s May 24, 2018, asking the CBP how many asylum seekers could be denied each day if the agency deadline. Border processing, a practice known as “metering.” She was told that 650 people daily could be denied entry if 200 officers were assigned.
On June 5, Nielsen signed an order for the plan to take effect, the report said.
“(While) DHS leadership is calling on asylum seekers to present themselves at ports of entry, which have been taking deliberate steps to limit the number of undocumented foreigners that can be. processed every day at the ports of entry in the Southwest Border, ”said the report.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment and neither Nielsen, who was ousted last year during an extensive purge of senior ministry officials. CBP referred the AP to their written responses in the report.
The Inspector General said that the CBP, without public notice, stopped processing asylum seekers at seven of the 24 southern border crossings, all at the San Diego and Laredo, Texas field offices. . Officers in Tecate, California, pass questioned the legality of the order and refused to participate.
The CBP, in written response to the recommendations, rejected the inspector-general’s proposal to continue processing at the seven intersections or announced publicly that it would not.
Agents at four border crossings – three at the San Diego field office and one in Nogales, Arizona – have returned asylum seekers who are in the United States but have not been examined. The Inspector General said that doing so was inconsistent with US law and Homeland Security policy.
The Inspector General also objected to CBP’s claim that it had reached handling capacity, saying visits to the Arizona intersections in Nogales and San Luis showed otherwise. The Port of San Luis has the capacity to hold 48 people but can hold only five people.
The CBP said the inspector-general’s findings on competency reflect “a fundamental misunderstanding”. For example, it says it cannot mix a man with an unaccompanied child.
The hopeful Democratic President Joe Biden called the measurement a “disastrous policy” on his website.
Associated Press writer Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report.