Washington — The Trump administration on Monday touted the sixth month in a row of border apprehensions, which has required more than 54,000 asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for the duration of their immigration court proceedings. The program, which is being challenged in court, has spurred the creation of encampments and shelters in northern Mexican cities where conditions are often squalid and life is uncertain for tens of thousands of migrants.

Many of the places where the U.S. is returning migrants subject to the policy are plagued by rampant insecurity, including two cities in the state of Tamaulipas, where the State Department warns Americans not to travel because of widespread violent crime, gang activity and extortion.

But Morgan hailed the policy and suggested that officials could expand the program to include so-called “extra-continental” asylum-seekers, such as migrants from non-Spanish-speaking countries like Brazil and nations in sub-saharan Africa. Morgan did not provide a specific timeline, but said the need is “urgent.” Currently, U.S. officials generally only return non-Mexican migrants from Spanish-speaking countries to Mexico.

In addition to “Remain in Mexico,” U.S. officials have been implementing a pilot program along the El Paso sector of southern border designed to fast-track the processing and deportation of asylum-seekers subject to a sweeping regulation allowed by the Supreme Court which renders most non-Mexican migrants ineligible for asylum.

The administration has also secured bilateral agreements with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to reroute asylum-seekers to these countries. So far, only the deal with Guatemala has been implemented, with the U.S. sending the first asylum-seeker subject to it there last month.