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News Article

US Government Ends Remain in Mexico Policy

By Paloma Duran | Fri, 08/12/2022 - 14:27

US President Joe Biden’s administration has ended 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. Although the lifting of the policy was celebrated by migrant rights organizations, experts assured that the measure will affect thousands of applicants who were already enrolled in the MPP.

This Monday, US District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk overturned the ruling he issued in 2021 that forced the Biden administration to reinstate the MPP, which was suspended on the president's first day in office. Although the US Supreme Court issued a ruling to lift the policy on June 30, authorities had to wait for the ruling to be certified and for Kacsmaryk to lift his previous injunction.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will stop processing migrant applications under the MPP and assured that it will guarantee that migrants have a quick and orderly transition to new immigration policies. “The MPP is endemicly flawed, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and takes resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border,” the DHS said.

Although the lifting of the policy has been applauded by immigrants and human rights advocates, experts say it will have limited impact since very few immigrants have entered the program under Biden administration. Additionally, there are many questions about whether those whose applications have been dismissed will be able to reapply or whether those currently in Mexico awaiting their US hearings  can return to the country sooner.

DHS assured that in the coming days it will provide additional information for those migrants who were under the MPP so that they can follow their migrations processes. However, many experts and migrants are concerned that immigration courts are currently overloaded with applications and understaffed.

In the past, asylum seekers had been 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."

President Joe Biden halted the MPP policy during his first days in office, a decision celebrated by migrant advocates that said the policy was "cruel, depraved and illegal.” However, Kacsmarys ordered US authorities to implement and enforce the Remain in Mexico policy, since the decision violated US federal administrative and immigration law, as there is not enough detaining capacity to receive these migrants. Since December 2021, when the MPP was reinstated, 5,764 migrants have been returned to Mexico.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Al Jazeera, The Guardian, CBS News
Photo by:   kevin turcios
Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Journalist and Industry Analyst