Mexico denies deal with USA to host asylum seekers

Mexico's new government agrees to Trump's 'asylum waiting room' plan

President Donald Trump suggested on Saturday that asylum seekers would be allowed to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed through the USA immigration system - but Mexico's incoming government has denied making any such deal with the United States.

Many are seeking United States asylum, but press reports say USA customs at some crossing points are only handling fewer than 50 applications a day. Likewise, the man who will serve in president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's administration "said the USA had yet to even send "a specific proposal" on how to deal with the issue".

But Mexico's incoming interior minister Olga Sanchez Cordero said there was "no agreement of any type between the future government of Mexico and the United States".

"Migrants at the Southern Border will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court", Trump wrote on Twitter. That ran contrary to The Post's account of the agreement with the incoming administration of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who takes office December 1.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has won support from the Mexican president-elect's team for a plan dubbed "Remain in Mexico".

No formal agreement has been signed, the Post said, but USA officials view the deal, which would see would-be refugees' cases heard by U.S. courts in Mexico, as a potential breakthrough in deterring migration.

The deal was seen as a way to dissuade thousands of Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the USA, a process that can take years.

"Mexico has open arms and everything", she told the newspaper, "but imagine, one caravan after another after another, that would also be a problem for us".

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Hundreds of the migrants lined up this week at a special jobs fair set up for them in the manufacturing city, but others remain determined to reach the US.

During his Thanksgiving break, Mr Trump also threatened to close entry into the country from the southern border.

But by early evening, the picture grew more complex, as the incoming Mexican government said there was "no agreement of any sort".

"I don't think it's a done deal, but I wouldn't doubt that conversations are taking place between the incoming government and the White House", she told Al Jazeera in an interview from Hermosillo in northwest Mexico.

Almost 5,000 Hondurans and Guatemalans who have been traveling in caravans for more than a month are camping at sports fields in the Mexican border city of Tijuana as they wait for interviews with United States immigration officials.

Julieta Vences, the head of the Mexican government's congressional migrant affairs commission and a member of Obrador's political party, told the AP late Saturday that the country's incoming foreign minister has been discussing how to handle an influx of migrants seeking asylum at the southern US border.

They include designating Mexico a "safe third" country - preventing asylum seekers claiming sanctuary in the U.S. on the basis they had been offered haven in Mexico.

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