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Mexico has denied that it has made a deal with the US allowing asylum seekers to wait in the country while their claims are processed by American courts.

The denial casts further doubt over discussions surrounding the "Remain in Mexico" deal, pushed by Donald Trump and seen as a way of dissuading Central Americans from seeking sanctuary in the US.

Olga Sanchez, Mexico's future interior minister, had been quoted by the Washington Post confirming that Mexico had agreed to the deal as a "short term solution".

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 US government".

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Video: 'I handed my brother in and my life is in danger'

In reality, Mexican border towns already act as ad-hoc waiting areas thanks to bottlenecks in processing at the border.

Tijuana has declared a humanitarian crisis and requested UN assistance as it struggles to support 5,000 migrants mostly camped in a sports complex in the city as they wait to speak to US officials.

migrant camp in tiujana - Sky News pics
Image: Asylum seekers are forced to sleep on the floor

After months on the road, the men, women and children in the camp are now living on donated food, sleeping on blankets and sharing makeshift toilet facilities.

The US has expressed hostility to the arrival of new migrants on its soil and says it has been trying to negotiate a solution to the so-called crisis for months.

Migrants at the Southern Border will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court. We only will allow those who come into our Country legally. Other than that our very strong policy is Catch and Detain. No “Releasing” into the U.S…

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 24 November 2018

….All will stay in Mexico. If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will CLOSE our Southern Border. There is no way that the United States will, after decades of abuse, put up with this costly and dangerous situation anymore!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 24 November 2018

On Saturday, Mr Trump tweeted that migrants at the border would "not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court."

This would end the current system, in which asylum seekers stay on safer US soil while their claims are processed.

Mr Trump also said the US would consider closing the southern border if the administration deemed it necessary, and has said he would use lethal force on the migrants.

Migrants 3:18
Video: 'I handed my brother in and my life is in danger'

He claimed there were "fistfights all over the streets" in Tijuana, Mexico, which the migrants have reached, and "these are not like normal, innocent people".

He insists that the US will only accept those who enter the country legally.

Those seeking asylum say they fear being killed in home countries, such as El Salvador where gang violence is rife.

tijuana migrant camp - sky news pic
Image: Conditions in the migrant camp in Tijuana are poor

Mr Trump's administration are understood to have been exploring other options for deals that could limit the number of people from the so-called "caravan" of migrants crossing its border.

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They include designating Mexico a "safe third" country – preventing asylum seekers claiming sanctuary in the US on the basis they had been offered haven in Mexico.

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.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said: "President Trump has developed a strong relationship with the incoming (Lopez) Obrador Administration, and we look forward to working with them on a wide range of issues."

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