President Donald Trump’s administration has unveiled a new set of immigration guidelines that may force Mexico to take in illegal immigrants from other countries.

What are the new guidelines?

Mexicans must really be feeling the new US president is out to get them.

First, he wanted them to pay for his “big, beautiful wall,” something that they really do not want. Now, they may have to absorb illegal immigrants from the US, even if they are not Mexican.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the new guidelines issued on Tuesday were part of a larger plan to “address a problem that has overwhelmed government resources.”

Border patrol and immigration officers will also have more power to quickly deport any illegal immigrant they find. Only children are exempt.

The new immigration orders could affect nearly 11 million undocumented foreigners in the US.

The government also plans to review a program that allows local police and jailers to act as immigration agents. (Reuters)

Is this legal?

It does not change US law but calls for stricter enforcement of immigration rules already in place.

Any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offence, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority, according to DHS memos signed by Homeland Secretary John Kelly.

When it comes to Mexico, the new orders could also implement an obscure, seldom-used provision within the US Immigration and Nationality Act.

If enforced, it could send all illegal immigrants, regardless of nationality, who entered the US from Mexico back to Mexico until their deportation hearings are complete. Under previous policy, migrants from other countries who entered the US illegally through Mexico were deported back to their homelands.

An expert on Mexico at the Washington DC-based Wilson Center, Andrew Selee, told Buzzfeed News that the move would likely be challenged in court.

“Deporting someone from a third-party nation to Mexico while they’re seeking asylum in the US would contravene international law,” Selee said.

The director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, Omar Jadwat, said the new orders would “trample on due process and human decency.”

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray says his country is prepared to go to the United Nations to “defend the freedoms and rights of Mexicans”.

How will the US enforce this?

It will probably need Mexico to agree to it first.

“DHS will continue to work with the Mexican government and the Department of State to determine how to best implement this guidance,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will be travelling to Mexico to meet with the country’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto, on Thursday.

What does Mexico think?

“I want to say clearly and emphatically that the government of Mexico and the Mexican people do not have to accept provisions that one government unilaterally wants to impose on the other,” Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said.

Mexico was prepared to go the United Nations to defend the freedoms and rights of Mexicans under international law, he said.

A Mexico-based security analyst, Alejandro Hope, said the country was simply not prepared for the influx of thousands of foreigners from across the border.

“Just look at the case of the Haitians in Tijuana – what were they, seven or eight thousand? And the situation was just out of control. Now imagine a situation 10 or 15 times that size. There aren’t enough resources to maintain them,” Hope told The Guardian.

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