Joe Biden Begins Dismantling Donald Trump's "Remain In Mexico" Asylum Policy

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 15, 2021

"Those being re-processed south of our border by global organizations, who will determine their eligibility, will soon be released into USA communities as they get added to the 1,000,000+ immigration court backlog".

Under the Trump administration, Central American migrants trying to cross into the USA from Mexico were made to "Remain in Mexico"-Trump's name for the Migrant Protection Protocols program, set up in January 2019-while they awaited a hearing on their asylum cases".

NPR reports that there are now 25,000 or so active MPP cases, with people forced to wait things out in rundown camps.

The DOJ said the Commerce Department "remains committed to a robust defense of national security as well as ensuring the viability of our economy and preserving individual rights and data".

"This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation's values", Mayorkas said in a statement.

"Due to the current pandemic, restrictions at the border remain in place and will be enforced", he said. Nonetheless, releases of some families in California and Texas seeking asylum have "worked against that messaging".

Media reports have said migrants will be tested for the coronavirus in Mexico before entering the U.S.

"I've been reading all the articles", said Salvadoran asylum seeker Sandra Andrade, who has been waiting in Mexico for over a year to resolve her United States court case. Getting word to them about when to report to the border for release in the United States may prove a daunting job.

"Unfortunately, DHS's process for hearing these remaining cases relies on a virtual registration process that may actually exclude precisely those asylum-seekers who don't have access to technology and who are the most in need of protection". However, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the refugee agency would work with both the USA and Mexican governments to ensure migrants in the program could safely enter the United States. The U.N. migration agency's Mexico director, Dana Graber Ladek, said it will seek to inform asylum-seekers across the country about eligibility.

While Biden's announcement "provides no relief to people whose cases were dismissed or denied. administration officials did not rule out additional measures", AP noted. Advocates argue that communication problems, including lack of working addresses in Mexico, caused some people to miss hearings and lose their cases as a result.

In Mexico, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, at his press briefing, welcomed Biden's move.

Republicans embracing Trump's hardline immigration views have criticized the ending of MPP and could use it as fuel for political attacks if illegal border crossings increase on Biden's watch.

Raul Ortiz, deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, said this week that more than 3,000 people had been stopped crossing the border illegally in each of the previous ten days, compared to an average of 2,426 people crossing illegally during the entire month of January.

About 50 to 80 adults and children have been arriving daily since January 27 at Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, which temporarily houses people released by the Border Patrol, said Sister Norma Pimentel, the group's executive director. They are quarantined in hotels for 10 days.

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