Just 117 Asylum Seekers Approved So Far Under ‘Remain in Mexico’ Program

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At the U.S. -Mexico border. Photo by longislandwins via Flickr

It is nearly impossible for asylum seekers in the controversial Remain in Mexico program to be granted asylum, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University,

As of November, more than 24,000 people had completed asylum cases through the program officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols but only 117 of them had received asylum, said  the San Diego Union-Tribune in a report on the TRAC study.

The 117 approvals represent  0.4 percent of all completed cases, a rate significantly lower than the historic asylum grant rate of about 20 percent, according to the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Nevertheless, compared to asylum grant rates through September, which were 0.1 percent of the roughly completed cases then, the 0.4 grant rate is a significant increase.

Asylum seekers in the Remain in Mexico program have experienced higher-than-average denial rates. Of the 24,231 completed cases, 15,411, or 63 percent, have resulted in a denial. Historically, between 40 and 50 percent of asylum claims are denied in the  U.S.

The remaining 8,673 completed Remain in Mexico cases resulted in the cases being closed without a decision, usually on procedural grounds. Under Remain in Mexico, asylum seekers are forced to live in Mexico while their immigration court cases are adjudicated.

Historically, asylum seekers lived in detention centers or with family and friends in the U.S. while waiting for their cases to work their way through the courts. The program began in January in San Diego and spread throughout the southern border by the spring. To date, more than 56,000 men, women and children have been returned to Mexico under this policy.

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