After the White House declined on Saturday to deny a new report saying that President Donald Trump's administration had reached a deal with Mexico that would require asylum-seeking migrants to wait there while their claims are decided by USA courts, Mexican officials denied it themselves.
Trump took to Twitter again Saturday to reiterate that he plans to do away with the USA catch-and-release system, which allows asylum seekers to work and study sometimes for years while their cases are pending.
President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador with former Supreme Court Judge Olga Sanchez Cordero (L) and Claudia Sheinbaum in Mexico City, Mexico March 21, 2018.
But she rowed back on this just hours later, saying in a statement: "There is no agreement of any sort between the incoming Mexican government and the USA government".
Trump took to Twitter to announce no-one at the southern border would be allowed into America without their claim being approved in court first.
She said Trump had chosen "to weaponize" and "politicize" the situation, but "has an opportunity here, especially with a new Congress coming in, to get this done".
U.S. Military stand in line for a drill near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, Calif., on November 15, 2018.
The tweets came after The Washington Post reported the U.S. had reached a deal with Mexico's incoming government that would represent a major overhaul of border policy.
Earlier in the day, the Washington Post reported that the Mexican authorities had agreed to Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" proposal.
Around 3,000 have taken up an offer, offered by Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto, of asylum and the right to work on the condition they remain in southern Mexico.
The conflicting statements emerged after the Washington Post reported Mexican officials had agreed to let migrants trying to enter the United States stay in Mexico while their asylum claims were heard. He again threatened to close the country's southern border "if it becomes necessary".
"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".
Democrats and human rights activists are likely to be concerned about the "Remain in Mexico" strategy, and in the past have expressed concern it may put migrants at risk and make it more hard for them to apply for asylum.
"There is no agreement of any sort between the future Mexican federal government and the USA", the incoming interior minister said in a statement.
More than 6,000 caravan members, mostly Hondurans, have arrived this month in the Mexican border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali, posing a humanitarian, logistical and political challenge for the two cities on the border.
The White House did not immediately respond to questions about what the president was referring to.
His tweets were interpreted as possible confirmation of the alleged deal between the US and Obrador's administration.
The US officials will be able to process at least twice as many asylum claims under the new system because they would not be limited by detention space at US ports of entry, the report said. "They will also give us dates, on what terms they will receive the (asylum) requests and in the case that they are not beneficiaries of this status, they will have to return here", Vences said.
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