Asylum Processing and Waitlists at the U.S. - Mexico Border

Stephanie Leutert, et al
Date of Publication: 
December, 2018
Source Organization: 

Since 2016, wait times for asylum processing at ports of entry on the southern border have increased due largely to a procedure called “metering,” i.e. limiting the number of asylum seekers who can be processed per day or turning them away before they reach a port of entry. This practice has created great hardship among immigrants from Central America and the Caribbean, many of whom have travelled for weeks or months to get to the border, and now have to wait up to three more months in Mexico before being processed. Metering has also caused consternation among Mexican government and social services officials, who must manage these temporary residents in their border cities. This report uses fieldwork conducted in eight cities along the U.S.-Mexico border to gain insight into the effects of metering on asylum seekers and surrounding communities. Advocates argue that the deliberately slow processing of asylum claims, as well as policies that reflect a “zero-tolerance” policy towards undocumented immigrants entering via land borders, violates international conventions on processing asylum claims. Furthermore, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have given false information to asylum seekers and erroneously turned them away from the border. The report calls for institutional policy change within CBP to address these deficiencies as well as an end to intimidation and coercive tactics toward a deeply vulnerable population of asylum seekers. (Mia Fasano for The Immigration Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Leutert, S. et al. (2018). Asylum Processing and Waitlists at the U.S. - Mexico Border. Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law. Retrieved from