The Pretzel Logic of Some Asylum Seekers

By Dan Cadman on January 3, 2020

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Mexicans asking the United States for asylum (but who must remain in Mexico because current policy precludes entering our country while the claim is pending) are upset about a U.S. plan to "deport" them to Central America, so they're demanding that the Mexican government intercede on their behalf.

Let's take half a minute to parse that tangled mess. First, it isn't "deportation". What these individuals are referring to is the fact that Mexican asylum seekers may be obliged to pursue their claim in Guatemala, which has a "safe third-country" agreement with the United States. If they agree, no doubt American taxpayers will literally pay the freight to get them there. If they don't, then no doubt the United States will take the next steps and place them formally into removal proceedings and at that point seek their deportation. But it's important to understand the distinction.

This brings us to the next point: Why would they be sent to Guatemala for their interviews and processing? Simple. Because they are claiming asylum from the government of Mexico. They are asserting for any of a number of reasons that they can't stay in Mexico because it's unsafe. They fear the government, or they fear the cartels, or both, or whatever. And yet the individuals in Tijuana that the article discusses — the ones who are protesting — now balk at being told they have the chance to leave Mexico while pursuing asylum. Much like the ones in U.S. detention, who may be given the opportunity to go to a processing center in Guatemala. If American immigration detention is as horrific as some progressives and migrant advocates claim, why wouldn't they choose this alternative instead?

Now to the final point: Who have these asylum-seeking Mexican nationals asked to help them break the impasse, which they hope will result in their being allowed to live and work in the United States while awaiting the decision on their claim? (Parenthetically, good luck with that; it would be an act of sheer idiocy for U.S. officials to reopen that door and see people once again come flooding through in the hundreds of thousands.) Why, they're asking the Mexican government — the one that they claim to need protection from.

Quite a dazzling feat of pretzel logic, when you think about it. But many asylum claims often are.

Topics: Asylum