DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced in Congress Thursday that effective immediately certain asylum-seekers who arrive in the U.S. illegally from Mexico will have to wait in Mexico during the course of their asylum hearings.
"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," she said. "Instead, they will wait for an immigration court decision while they are in Mexico."
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN: For nearly two years we've been working to stop illegal entry, while also standing by our commitment to protect people who are actually fleeing real persecution. Sadly, many migrants have been misled by smugglers that they can claim asylum if they are seeking jobs or if they would like to reunite with their families.
The bottom line is this: All too frequently, if they say the magic words they get a free pass into America.
Today I am announcing historic measures to bring the situation under control. Effective immediately, the United States will begin the process of invoking section 235-B2-C of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Once implemented, individuals arriving in or entering the United States from Mexico illegally or without proper documentation may be returned to Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings. They will not be able to disappear into the United States. They will have to wait for approval to come into the United States. If they are granted asylum by a U.S. judge, they will be welcomed into America. If they are not, they will be removed to their own countries.
Let me be clear: We will undertake these steps consistent with our domestic and international obligations, including our humanitarian commitments. We have notified the Mexican government of our intended actions and in response, Mexico has informed us that they will commit to implementing essential measures on their side of the border to facilitate this process by providing humanitarian assistance.