Biden Administration To Restart Trump's 'Remain In Mexico' Policy Under Court Orders

Biden Administration To Restart Trump's 'Remain In Mexico' Policy Under Court Orders

The Biden administration will restart a Trump-era “Remain In Mexico” immigration policy after a federal court overruled the president’s efforts to overturn the controversial immigration legislation in August. 

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said the policy has “endemic flaws” and “unjustifiable human costs.” 

The policy, known as Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their court date. During the Trump administration, tens of thousands of immigrants were apprehended and sent back to Mexico to wait for months- and in some cases years- to present their cases at U.S. immigration hearings. Immigration activists argue many migrants who were sent back to Mexico faced violence and kidnappings while they were awaiting their court date in border cities. Human Rights First has reported 1,500 cases of rape, murder, torture, and kidnappings taking place since February. 

The Mexican government is asking the U.S. to expedite migrant cases, limit their time spent in Mexico, provide them with medical care, covid vaccines, and legal representation. Biden says the U.S. will conclude legal cases within six months of migrants returning to Mexico, improve access to attorneys, exclude the elderly and disabled from the program, and provide vaccines and shelter. The U.S. is assigning 22 immigration judges to work on the upcoming cases.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki discussed the president’s desire to end the restrictive and dangerous immigration program, saying "we also believe in following the law, and that's exactly what we're doing, as there was a ruling that required us moving forward with implementation."

The reinstatement of MPP has led to the arrests of 1.7 million people in the 2021 fiscal year which ended in September and nearly two-thirds of the migrants caught at the border have been expelled under Title 42, according to Reuters

Biden has faced criticism for detaining migrants inside detention centers he had initially promised to end after Trump had gotten flack for separating families and putting children in cages. The number of migrants inside these facilities has doubled to 29,000 since he has taken office, the Guardian reported

“Frankly, it’s infuriating,” Setareh Ghandehari, advocacy director for Detention Watch Network, told the Washington Post. “It’s incredibly disappointing. We really expected more.”