Mexico agrees to hold asylum seekers

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"Aliens trying to game the system to get into our country illegally will no longer be able to disappear into the United States, where many skip their court dates", wrote Nielsen.

Going forward, those asylum seekers will be sent back to Mexico to wait, which could both relieve overwhelmed USA border detention centers and discourage illegal immigration. "If they are not, they will be removed to their home countries", Nielsen said.

Nielsen is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee later Thursday.

The United State and Mexican authorities have reportedly reached a bilateral agreement this week; allowing members of the "migrant caravan" to remain in northern Mexico as the USA processes thousands of asylum claims.

Trump tweeted on November 24 that migrants at the US-Mexico border would stay in Mexico until their asylum claims were individually approved in USA courts.

Trump also attempted an earlier crackdown on illegal immigration that resulted in children being separated from the adults who illegally brought them into the country. She said migrants waiting in Mexico for their asylum claims to be determined will receive humanitarian visas to stay in Mexico and also have the ability to apply for work.

The AP reported USA border authorities fielded 92,959 "credible fear" claims in the fiscal year that ended September 30, up 67 percent from 55,584 the previous year.

Over the past year, many have made their way across the border and then requested asylum, forcing the United States to review their cases.

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"It is repugnant to me, and astonishing to me, that during Christmas - I like to call them the holiday seasons to be inclusive, but during Christmas because the majority always wants to just call it Christmas - that during Christmas, a time in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, a Jesus Christ who had to flee for his life with Mary and Joseph, thank God there wasn't a wall that stopped him from seeking refuge in Egypt", Gutierrez said.

The ministry said the actions taken by the Mexican and U.S. governments do not constitute a "safe third country" scheme, where migrants would have to request United States asylum while in Mexico. "Aliens will have access to immigration attorneys and to the USA for their court hearings".

Previously, immigrants were released into the United States, under what was known as "catch and release". Mexican officials reportedly found out about this new policy Thursday morning in a letter from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Immigrant advocates questioned the legality of the move.

Amnesty International's executive director, Margaret Huang, called the policy "a stark violation of worldwide law" that "flies in the face of US laws passed by Congress and is a callous response to the families and individuals running for their lives".

Last month, Trump invoked national security powers to deny asylum to anyone caught crossing illegally, but a judge halted that change as a lawsuit progresses.

Mexico's new president, Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador, took office on 1 December.

The biggest caravan consisted of thousands of migrants who traveled to the southern border from Honduras.

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