Mexico Refuses to Re-implement Remain in Mexico Policy
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Mexico Refuses to Re-implement Remain in Mexico Policy

Photo by:   Max Böhme
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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 02/09/2023 - 17:03

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it rejected the US government's proposal to reinstate the Remain in Mexico policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which required asylum seekers to remain in Mexico until the date of their US hearing.

The ministry explained in a press release that in December 2022, the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a ruling that forced the administration of US President Joe Biden to reinstate the policy. Consequently, the US authorities notified the Mexican government of their intention to reinitiate the mechanism and return non-Mexican migrants to Mexico. However, this request was rejected.

"Regarding the possible implementation of this policy for the third time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Government of Mexico, expresses its rejection of the US government’s intention to return individuals processed under the program to Mexico," stated Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release.

Moreover, the ministry stressed that it will continue to support the recently-agreed paths of orderly, safe, regular and humane access, used especially for people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Ukraine and Venezuela. Migrants were said to have benefited from the new strategy as they get a fair hearing, gain access to legal representation, have safe transfers between both countries and are supported by health services.

Why Was the Remain in Mexico Policy Reinstated?

In past decades, asylum seekers were allowed to wait for their immigration trial in the US. However, in 2019, the Trump administration implemented MPP to "reduce the number of aliens taking advantage of the law from the US and discourage false asylum applications." During the Trump administration, 74,000 individuals were registered under the MPP program, equivalent to 5.15% of all border crossings that were recorded during that time.

President Joe Biden halted the MPP policy during his first days in office, a decision celebrated by migrant advocates who said the policy was "cruel, depraved and illegal." However, US Federal District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk ordered US authorities to implement and enforce the Remain in Mexico policy once again. Kacsmaryk explained that the decision to formally end the Remain in Mexico policy violated US federal administrative law since the move failed to consider the policy’s purported benefits such as the deterrent effect it had on migrants who do not meet the requirements to request asylum. In addition, Kacsmaryk said the Biden administration violated US immigration law as there is not enough capacity to receive asylum seekers.

During the months that the court resumed the program, 7,050 people were registered under the MPP program, which equates to 0.33% of the encounters between the two borders from December 2021 to October 2022.

Photo by:   Max Böhme

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