Has Washington struck a new immigration deal with Mexico? Depends on who you ask. According to the Washington Post, the two sides have agreed in principle that asylum seekers will wait in Mexico for courts to assess their claims—and anyone denied gets sent back to their home country. "For now, we have agreed to this policy of Remain in Mexico," says Olga Sánchez Cordero, a top official in the incoming administration of President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Calling it a "short-term solution," she adds that "the medium- and long-term solution is that people don’t migrate. Mexico has open arms and everything, but imagine, one caravan after another after another, that would also be a problem for us."
But Sanchez tells the AP a different story, saying "there is no agreement of any sort between the incoming Mexican government and the US government." The issue may be the deal's official status, or unresolved details—no agreement has been signed, after all—but the notion was apparently hashed out last week in Houston meetings between a top incoming Mexican official and senior US officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. If it happens, the Post notes, the agreement could trigger more crossings at unofficial crossing points and endanger asylum seekers stuck in violent Mexican border states. As it stands, US policy generally lets refuge-seekers stay in America while their cases are considered. (In arresting one illegal immigrant, ICE had to arrest 27 protesters.)