The Trump administration on Friday will start forcing some asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through US courts, an official says, launching what could become one of the more significant changes to the immigration system in years. The changes will be introduced at San Diego's San Ysidro border crossing, according to a US official familiar with the plan who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because it was not yet publicly announced. San Ysidro is the nation's busiest crossing and the choice of asylum seekers who arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, in November in a caravan of more than 6,000 mostly Central American migrants.
The policy, which is expected to face a legal challenge, may be expanded at other crossings. It does not apply to children traveling alone or asylum seekers from Mexico. The details were finalized during bilateral talks in Mexico City over the last few days. It calls for US authorities to bus asylum seekers back and forth to the border for court hearings in downtown San Diego, including an initial appearance within 45 days. While illegal crossings from Mexico are near historically low levels, the US has witnessed a surge in asylum claims, especially from Central American families, and there are fears that the policy could severely strain Mexican border cities. (Mexican officials have described the plan as a "short-term solution.")