Mexico rejects new US asylum restrictions

MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Mexico on Monday (July 15) rejected new asylum restrictions sought by US President Donald Trump to stem the flow of undocumented migrants trying to cross the neighbours’ shared border.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico would not become a dumping ground for asylum seekers rejected by the US, adding that his country would at the same time respect its obligation not to return refugees to danger zones.

The move announced by the Trump administration on Monday declares ineligible for asylum almost all migrants entering the United States from its southern border who didn’t ask for asylum protection in any of the countries they crossed to get there.

It is thought to mostly target Central American migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador fleeing poverty and gang or drug-trafficking violence.

“Mexico does not agree with measures that limit asylum or refuge for those that fear for their lives in their country of origin,” said Ebrard.

He said Mexico would be respecting the UN’s non-refoulement principle that bans countries from expelling or returning “a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his (or her) life or freedom would be threatened.”

Mexico’s announcement came after Guatemala’s constitutional court blocked President Jimmy Morales from signing a migration deal with the US that would have designated the Central American nation as a “safe third country,” obliging it to offer asylum to any migrants entering its territory on the way to the US.

“We will not enter any safe third country negotiations without the express authorisation of Congress,” Ebrard told a news conference.

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