NEW POLICY: “CATCH AND DETAIN”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 24, 2018) — On Saturday evening, President Trump tweeted about an agreement made with the incoming government of Mexico which will require individuals seeking to enter the U.S. from Mexico to remain in that country “until their claims are individually approved in court.”
Mainstream news reports earlier in the day announced the informal accord, dubbed “Remain in Mexico,” according to The Washington Post, which cited transition-team members of incoming Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who will take office on December 1.
In two successive tweets, Trump stressed that the policy known as “catch and release,” which has allowed asylum-seekers to live in the U.S. while awaiting adjudication of their claims, will apparently no longer be exercised, replaced by what Trump said is the “very strong policy” of “Catch and Detain.”
“There is no way that the United States will, after decades of abuse, put up with this costly and dangerous situation anymore!” he ended his commentary on the subject.
Trump has long decried the policy made necessary, in part, by a court settlement known as the “Flores agreement” which requires that illegal-alien children be released to residential facilities, their parents or another guardian after 20 days in immigration detention. Since virtually no asylum petition can be heard within that time frame, entire families are released into American communities, with a majority never appearing in court on the appointed day.
A significant element in his 2016 campaign, Trump has criticized current U.S. immigration law and urged Congress to change it. With an incoming Democrat majority in the House of Representatives as of January, many observers do not expect a new law to be agreed upon in the near future, if at all.
On Saturday Trump reiterated his statement from two days earlier that he is willing to “shut down the whole border” with Mexico, including for trade, if the situation should become “uncontrollable.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Monday that approximately 500 members of the 4,600+-strong “caravan” currently lodged in Tijuana are criminals. Some have been arrested since arriving in the northern Mexico town, which is reportedly experiencing a “humanitarian crisis” due to the sudden influx of people from Central America.
While the media has stressed that many “migrants” consist of “family units” fleeing violence and unrest in their home countries, at least three recently-embedded reporters observed that “90-95%” of those in the caravan which formed in Honduras in mid-October and gained strength in Guatemala late last month are men. On Wednesday Ami Horowitz told Judicial Watch’s Chris Farrell that a U.N. refugee representative with whom he spoke characterized the “organization” of the caravan as an attempt to “poke Trump in the eye.”
At the end of October, Farrell and Fox News contributing journalist Sara A. Carter were embedded with the caravan in Guatemala and reported having seen MS-13 gang members and a relatively small number of women and children.
Members of Tijuana’s local government have been called “racist” and “neo-nationalist” by the media for expressing frustration and anger at the arrival of the caravan.
Update, 9:38 p.m. EST: Fox News has since reported that the incoming Mexican government is denying that any agreement, formal or informal, with the U.S. on asylum-seekers is in place, contradicting The Post‘s earlier report.