Biden administration terminates ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy again

The Migrant Protection Protocols policy forced people seeking asylum at the border to stay in Mexico while their claims were processed.

AP Photo / Gregory Bull, File
In this Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, file photo, asylum seekers receive food as they wait for news of policy changes at the border, in Tijuana, Mexico. Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced the termination of a Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols policy, also known as "Remain in Mexico."

In a memorandum Friday, Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced the termination of a Trump-era immigration program, the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — also known as "Remain in Mexico."

The policy forced those seeking asylum at the border to stay in Mexico while their claims were processed, which forced people to wait along the border in dangerous conditions.

"It left thousands of people in squalor and led to thousands of people being the victims of kidnapping and violence in Mexico," said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy counsel for the American Immigration Council.

In the memo, Mayorkas said the program does not address the root causes of illegal immigration and doesn't offer humanitarian protection.

This isn't the Biden administration's first attempt at canceling the program. In June, Mayorkas issued a memo ending MPP but a Texas District Court granted an injunction on the administration’s decision and ordered the administration reinstate the policy because it did not properly justify ending it. The Supreme Court later upheld that decision.

The new termination cannot go into action until a judge lifts the injunction.

"This new memorandum goes in detail into all of the problems caused by MPP from the extraordinary violence faced by migrants in the program, to the internal governmental difficulties in implementing a program that required tens of thousands of people to return to court through ports of entry every month," Reichlin-Melnick said.

Although the Biden administration appealed the judge's decision, it is still complying with court orders by negotiating a deal with Mexico to handle the influx of migrants.

Former President Donald Trump enacted the program to curb illegal immigration. In the DHS memo, Mayorkas recognizes that "MPP likely contributed to reduced migratory flows," but did so at a great humanitarian expense.

Rather than reinstate the program, the Biden administration says it is reforming immigration policies to streamline the process and address the reasons behind people leaving their home countries.

"If our country stands for anything, it’s that people should have a fair day in court and MPP took away that right," Reichlin-Melnick said.

This story originally appeared on Texas Public Radio. TPR was founded by and is supported by the community. If you value its commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

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