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Mexico Rejects Washington’s Requests to Block Migrants From Seeking Asylum in US

© REUTERS / Hannah McKayMigrants, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, stand outside of the El Chaparral port of entry border crossing between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, November 22, 2018
Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, stand outside of the El Chaparral port of entry border crossing between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, November 22, 2018 - Sputnik International
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Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said on Wednesday that his country has repeatedly refused US requests to force Central American migrants to seek asylum in Mexico, claiming the caravan has a right to seek asylum in the US.

Videgaray, who leaves office this weekend, said the incoming Mexican government was also not planning to accept US demands that it give asylum to the thousands of migrants who have arrived on the US-Mexican border in caravans in recent weeks, Reuters reported.

Accepting US requests “would declare Mexico a final destination for migrants, invalidating any asylum process in the United States. We have rejected this,” he told Mexican network Televisa.

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“They are in Mexico, waiting to file for [US] asylum. Being in Mexico does not mean they lose their ability, their right to request asylum,” he added.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to “permanently” close the US’ southern border if Mexico does not deport 7,000 Central Americans from the border city of Tijuana.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens during the American Leadership in Emerging Technology event with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Washington - Sputnik International
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Videgaray said that closing the border, through which $1.7 billion in bilateral trade passes every day, would be "incredibly negative" for both countries. The minister did not comment on reports that the incoming government of President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was close to an agreement with the US that would make migrants wait in Mexico even after they had submitted their asylum claims to the US.

Under current rules, migrants are either detained in the United States or released there to await a final ruling on their application, which on average takes close to two years. The process had been criticized by Trump, who described it as “catch and release.”

Earlier this week, the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country has no intention of deploying troops to curb the influx of migrants, as there were no casualties during the attempts of the caravan members to illegally cross the border. However, the ministry agreed to reinforce the border crossings migrants breached on Sunday.

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