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Trump administration expands program to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico

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The Trump administration this week added a new location to a Department of Homeland Security program that turns away asylum seekers who arrive at official crossing points at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) was implemented Monday in a new location — Eagle Pass, Texas — where Central American families, as well as Congolese, Angolans, and Haitians, have constituted the largest groups of asylum seekers arriving over the past six months.

It is the sixth crossing point, or port of entry, on the southern border where DHS has opted to turn away people since implementing its “Remain in Mexico” policy in January. Other border crossings already returning migrants to Mexico are San Diego, California; Calexico, California; El Paso, Texas; Laredo, Texas; and Brownsville, Texas.

“The President is using every tool available to address the humanitarian crisis at the border to include domestic policy changes and fostering collaboration with our neighbors in the region. The Migrant Protection Protocols has been a key component to the success we have had addressing the crisis,” acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a statement. “I am grateful to the government of Mexico for their partnership, including accepting MPP returns at Eagle Pass.”

Under the program, citizens of countries other than Mexico who have passed through Mexico but not sought asylum there are not allowed into the U.S. to claim asylum but must wait in Mexico until a federal immigration judge can hear the case.

[Also read: Drive to give body cameras to Border Patrol gains steam as Republicans join effort]