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WASHINGTON, Dec. 02, 2021—The Biden administration announced today that it will begin to reimplement as early as Monday the Migrant Protection Protocols—a Trump-era policy also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. Under MPP, the U.S. government sent nearly 70,000 people seeking humanitarian protection to dangerous areas of Mexico to await their hearings, leading thousands to suffer.
The Biden administration’s reinstatement of the program raises a host of new questions and leaves asylum seekers in a perilous position. The administration says it will work with the Mexican government to ensure safeguards for people enrolled in MPP and to provide increased access to legal representation, faster court hearings, and better screening for particularly vulnerable individuals. However, the Department of Homeland Security has not provided details about how these safeguards will be implemented.
The reimplementation of MPP comes following a Texas district court decision ordering the Biden administration to “reinstate MPP in good faith.” That decision, which is on appeal, ignored many critical and devastating facts, ignored many critical and devastating facts demonstrating that MPP was a humanitarian catastrophe and failed to provide due process to migrants in the program. The administration issued a new memorandum in October attempting to terminate MPP a second time, but that memorandum will not go into effect until the lower court’s injunction is lifted. Nothing in the court’s order requires the Biden administration to reimplement MPP by a specific date or in this manner.
The following statement is from Jorge Loweree, policy director at the American Immigration Council:
“The Biden administration has broken its promise to restore access to a humane asylum system at the border. As DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has acknowledged, there is no humane way to implement the Remain in Mexico program and provide people the protections they are guaranteed by law. The Remain in Mexico program eliminated due process for 70,000 people and forced vulnerable families to run a gauntlet of kidnappers and extortionists just to get to the courtroom door. Now the Biden administration will again send vulnerable people into the lion’s den.
“We categorically reject the Biden administration’s claims that it can administer the Remain in Mexico program in a more humane manner. Today is a dark day for the United States and for the rule of law. The longer the administration delays terminating this unlawful and cruel policy, the more people will suffer.
“By expanding the Remain in Mexico program to nationals from any country in the Western Hemisphere, the Biden administration has made the program even broader than under Trump. Under this new expansion, even Haitian nationals who don’t speak Spanish will be forced to wait in Mexico. This disparate impact on Black immigrants comes on the heels of administration’s mass-disappearance of thousands of Haitians in Del Rio and cannot be ignored.”
The American Immigration Council has a range of research and other resources on the Migrant Protection Protocols, including experts available to speak on the fatal flaws in the lower court decisions and factual and legal recommendations on how to end the Migrant Protection Protocols in a second termination memorandum.
The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring. The Council brings together problem solvers and employs four coordinated approaches to advance change—litigation, research, legislative and administrative advocacy, and communications. Follow the latest Council news and informationImmigrationImpact.comand on Twitter@immcouncil.