The Trump administration on Thursday night welcomed a Mexican government plan to work with the United Nations refugee agency to deal with a controversial caravan of Honduran migrants — fleeing poverty and violence — before they can make their way to the U.S.-Mexico border.
The caravan of migrants, who number anywhere between 1,500 to 4,000 people, has angered President Donald Trump. This week, he threatened the governments in Central America and Mexico if they failed to deal with the situation.
A top Mexican official said Thursday night that his government will ask the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to help identify “legitimate” asylum claims from Hondurans who are part of the caravan making its way through his country’s southern border en route to the U.S.
Under the Mexican government’s plan, those migrants whose asylum claims get rejected would be immediately repatriated to Honduras, Gerónimo Gutiérrez, the Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., told Fox News’ “Special Report” in an interview Thursday night.
“We want to make sure that those claims are legitimate,” he said, noting a handful of migrants had already applied for asylum in Mexico.
“We obviously are sensitive to the humanitarian situation that we encounter,” said Gutiérrez. “But we have also made very clear that there is no legal ground on which Mexico can issue a permit by which people can just go through Mexico towards the United States.”
“Mexico is in favor of legal, safe and orderly migration,” he added. “And the step we took today, it’s extremely important.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is visiting Mexico on Friday, applauded the move by Mexican government officials.
“We welcome the Government of Mexico’s statement that they will seek cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to address immigration issues in the region, including the influx of people arriving in Mexico,” he said in a statement. “The United States stands ready to assist the Government of Mexico and UNHCR in this effort.”
By Sergio Bustos for USA TODAY
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