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Mexico shifts housing for migrant children away from immigration detention

Mexico shifts housing for migrant children away from immigration detention

Mexico's government implemented a law Wednesday that will end the holding of minors in immigrant detention centers within the country, a decision hailed by the United Nations.

The Associated Press reported that the new law will grant provisional legal status to undocumented minors in the country to allow them to pursue legal representation in the hopes of applying for asylum in the U.S. or Mexico itself.

Children under the care of Mexico's government due to their parents' detention will now reportedly be under the supervision of the country's National System for Integral Family Development, rather than the National Immigration Institute.

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“The implementation of the reforms will help strengthen the system of childhood protection, benefiting the girls, boys and adolescents in the context of human mobility, by guaranteeing them comprehensive compliance with their rights and making their best interest central,” the U.N. said in a statement obtained by the AP.

Mexico's immigration system is overburdened by an influx of migrants from Central and South America heading for the U.S. border, where the Trump administration has returned many under its "remain in Mexico" policy which requires undocumented immigrants to stay on the Mexican side of the border while their claims are processed. The U.S. policies coupled with the surge of migrants has led to many seeking asylum with Mexico's government as well, leading to delays in claims being handled.

The "remain in Mexico" policy has been heavily criticized by global human rights watchdog groups, who have accused the Trump administration of placing migrants who are not from Mexico originally in dangerous situations when they are forced to stay in the country.

"Asylum seekers swept up in the [Migrant Protection Protocols] program face kidnapping, sexual assault, exploitation, lack of basic necessities, abuse and other dangers in Mexico, with no meaningful access to due process in the United States," reads a Q&A section on the Human Rights Watch website.