US strikes deal with Mexico to set up new migrant center

US strikes deal with Mexico to set up new migrant center

Cooperation 'testament to strong and enduring bonds of friendship and partnership,' says White House

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - Mexico has agreed to establish a new center for refugees already in the country, the White House announced Friday as the US seeks to further curtail illegal border crossings.

The "international multipurpose space" will be established in Mexico's south, and will "offer new refugee and labor options for the most vulnerable people," National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

An exact location for the new site was not announced, but its location in the south of Mexico is likely intended to deter individuals from heading towards the US border.

As part of the deal, the US is also committing to accepting refugee referrals from Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan nationals already in Mexico, according to the White House.

"The expanded cooperation between the United States and Mexico to manage our shared border in a humane and orderly way is a testament to strong and enduring bonds of friendship and partnership between our two countries," said Sullivan.

"We encourage migrants to use these legal pathways instead of putting their lives in the hands of dangerous smugglers and traffickers. Pursuant to our laws, those seeking to enter the United States unlawfully will continue to face strong consequences, including removal, possible criminal prosecution, and a bar on reentry," he added.

US President Joe Biden's effort to restrict migration along the US' southern border were dealt a significant blow Tuesday when a federal judge in California decided his attempt to restrict how migrants can claim asylum under US law.

US District Court Judge Jon Tigar's 35-page ruling instructs the Justice Department to rescind the Biden administration's policy mandating that those seeking asylum first secure an appointment at a port of entry, or prove that they had previously sought legal protections in a third-party nation on their way to the US.

"The Rule -- which has been in effect for two months -- cannot remain in place, and vacating the challenged Rule would restore a regulatory regime that was in place for decades before," Tigar wrote.

Under law, any migrant can claim asylum in the US whether or not they present themselves at a legal port of entry.

Tigar stayed his order for two weeks pending an appeal in the case, which the Justice Department has launched.

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