Utah Sen. Mike Lee in Mexico, Guatemala seeking solutions to migrant caravan


SALT LAKE CITY — One day after the midterm elections, with the migrant caravan marching steadily toward the border, Utah Sen. Mike Lee is in Mexico and Guatemala seeking solutions to America’s burgeoning immigration crisis.

Lee, representing the state that brokered the Utah Compact on immigration as a statement of values supporting both families and public safety in 2010, says the United States should enter into an agreement with Mexico that would require Central American migrants to first seek asylum there before attempting to cross the border.

The “safe third-country agreement” would require asylum seekers to ask for protection in whichever of the two countries they enter first. Such an agreement already exists between the United States and Canada.

Office of Sen. Mike Lee

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, meets with Olga Sanchez Cordero, incoming Mexican Foreign Minister, in Mexico City on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

“This wave of caravans is enormous and it’s unlike anything we’ve seen, in terms of magnitude,” Lee, a Utah Republican told the Deseret News in an exclusive interview by phone from Mexico Thursday. “The subjective intent of any one individual or large group of people, that’s very difficult to predict exactly. A large group of people disregarding the law of the country they are entering, there’s a fear they might disregard our laws as well.”

Lee said that the White House was aware of his visit, but he did not elaborate on whether or not the visit was a part of a broader Trump administration policy strategy.

Just hours after the Deseret News spoke with Lee, the Trump administration announced a new rule limiting eligibility for asylum seekers coming from Mexico. The rule would prohibit migrants who cross the border outside of ports of entry from seeking asylum in the United States.

Lee said the “safe third-country agreement” could help sort out those who need help from those who present a national security risk. Only those that had been granted asylum in Mexico would then be admitted to the United States, without “overwhelming our system” with the need to process thousands of asylum claims on American soil.

He said he discussed the idea with officials in the administration of Enrique Pena Nieto, the president of Mexico, and those in the incoming administration of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the country’s President-elect. Friday, he plans to do the same with Jimmy Morales, the President of Guatemala.

He stressed he didn’t travel to …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News


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