DHS Chief Mayorkas: Not ‘Sound Policy’ to Make Border Crossers Seek Asylum in Mexico Rather than U.S.

by JOHN BINDER 29 Mar 2023

President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says it is not “sound policy” or within the “unilateral authority” of the United States to require border crossers to seek asylum in Mexico.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) pressed Mayorkas about the Biden administration’s inability to impose a “Safe Third Country” policy similar to the one the U.S. has with Canada.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). (Anna Rose Layden/Pool Photo via AP)

“If you do the Safe Third Country policy, that’ll solve half of your problem right there,” Kennedy told Mayorkas. “And you’re not denying anybody asylum.”

At the northern border, for example, the Safe Third Country
policy ensures that border crossers arriving in the U.S. from Canada must first seek asylum in Canada before doing so in the U.S.

Canadian Labour

Canada’s unions continue to stand with our allies in opposition to the Safe Third Country Agreement. We call for all migrants entering Canada through the U.S. to have their claims for refugee protection fairly & properly processed. #STCA#CdnPoli

New deal with U.S. allows Canada to turn back migrants at the border | CBC News
Ottawa has negotiated a border deal with the United States that would allow Canada to turn back migrants coming from the U.S. who are looking to make asylum claims at unofficial points of entry such...

8:00 PM · Mar 24, 2023

Kennedy said there is no reason why the U.S. cannot impose an identical policy at the southern border where border crossers must first seek asylum in Mexico, which has a robust asylum system, before claiming asylum in the U.S.

“I also do not think that is sound policy that we should shut down our entire asylum system,” Mayorkas said of the proposal.

“I didn’t say shut down our entire asylum system,” Kennedy responded:

I said ‘Safe Third Country.’ All you have to do, Mr. Secretary, if you’re really serious … is adopt a policy that says — we’re not seeking anyone’s agreement we don’t have to — if you’re coming from another country and you come through, let’s say Mexico, and you’re seeking asylum, you have to seek it in Mexico or the other first safe country or you can’t come in, period, done, end of story. Why don’t you do that? [Emphasis added]

Mayorkas claimed that even if he supported a Safe Third Country policy with Mexico, the U.S. does not “have the unilateral authority” to impose such a policy. Kennedy, though, said other nations have such policies, rhetorically asking “Have you tried sneaking into China?”

With a Safe Third Country policy, Kennedy said the U.S. would be saying to the world’s migrants that “‘We respect your right to seek political asylum but you’re cherry-picking. Do it in Mexico first.'”

Since Biden took office, 4.5 million border crossers and illegal aliens have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border with 1.5 million having successfully crossed the border, undetected by federal immigration officials.

Meanwhile, through an expansive Catch and Release network, the Biden administration has released 1.7 million border crossers and illegal aliens into American communities from February 2021 to January 2023.