By Brandon Carter
April 18, 2017
The number of asylum applications to the Mexican government has reportedly shot up in the months since Donald Trump became U.S. president as more Central American migrants are choosing not to take their chances on entering the United States.
Mexico’s refugee agency, otherwise known as COMAR, received 5,421 asylum applications between November 2016 and March of this year, more than double the 2,148 applications it received in the same period during the previous year, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
COMAR director Cynthia Perez told Reuters it wasn’t yet clear whether the victory of Trump, who made hard-line immigration policy a cornerstone of his campaign, is directly causing the rise in asylum applications, but she didn’t rule it out.
“The views that people have about a political change, they definitely impact everyone’s consciousness,” Perez said.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the number of Central American families stopped at the U.S.-Mexico border has fallen dramatically since Trump took office, a 93 percent decrease since December.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported on Sunday that immigration arrests in the U.S. have spiked in the first months of Trump’s presidency.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials arrested 21,362 people from January to mid-March, a 32.6 percent increase from the same period last year.
ICE more than doubled its arrests of immigrants with no criminal records, up to 5,441 arrests.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has touted the numbers from the DHS and ICE, saying they show progress on stemming illegal immigration.
“I knew strong presidential leadership, unlike the wishy-washiness we’ve seen in the past, would impact the flow,” Sessions said.
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