The Biden administration has reached an agreement with the Mexican government to restart the Trump border initiative that required all asylum-seekers be sent back to Mexico while their claims were processed.
The Mexican and U.S. officials struck a deal re-implementing the Migrant Protection Protocols program, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” United States officials announced this week. The Biden administration had been forced to use the Remain in Mexico plan by a Supreme Court order from earlier in the year.
The Departments of Justice, State and Homeland Security outlined their plan to resume the program, confirming that the Mexican government had agreed to take back migrants that were returned under MPP. Both governments will work out the details of the deal before resuming the program on December 6 at seven ports of entry: Calexico and San Diego in California; Nogales in Arizona; and Eagle Pass, Laredo, El Paso, and Brownsville in Texas.
Pres. Joe Biden had initially attempted to end the program, which former President Donald Trump had claimed defused the border crisis before he left office, on humanitarian grounds.
The Biden administration had revised MPP to make sure all who were returned to Mexico have their cases resolved in six months and aren’t waiting indefinitely, as some of the 60,000 that were returned under Trump had been. It also requires asylum-seekers to have “secure access to, and communicate with, counsel during and before non-refoulement immigration court hearings and interviews” and requires more information on the legal process be given to asylum-seekers, so they understand the process better. Coronavirus vaccines will also be offered to Asylum-seekers.
Single families and adults are expected to be put into the program if they’re not able to be immediately returned to Mexico under a separate United States initiative known as Title 42.
Mexico agreed, as they did before, to accept Spanish speakers, which might mean Haitian migrants, many of whom come from South America.
The elderly, individuals with mental or physical disabilities, and people who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender or lesbian will be exempt from being returned under MPP because they have the highest risk of discrimination or abuse if sent back to Mexico.
Joe Biden suspended the Remain in Mexico policy shortly after taking office and originally attempted to end it back in June but was successfully sued by Missouri and Texas to reinstate it and lost his appeal to the Supreme Court. The Biden administration has been in the process of resuming the program to fulfill the court order while it works to put an end to it in a way that could withstand another legal challenge.
The move to resume the program follows the Biden administration’s second attempt to gut it in Oct. The DHS released a memo to agency heads on October 29 stating its plans to try again at suspending MPP on the basis it imposed “significant and unjustifiable human costs on the people who were exposed to danger while waiting in Mexico.”
Although the Biden administration had previously said this restart is not meant to be permanent, the move might face legal action.
Author: Blake Ambrose