Saturday, December 4, 2021

US Prepares to Resume Trump-Era ‘Remain in Mexico’ Asylum Policy

President Joe Biden’s administration is taking steps to restart by mid-November, a program started under his predecessor Donald Trump that asked asylum seekers to wait for a US court hearing in Mexico. forced, when a federal court deemed the program’s termination unfair, US officials said Thursday.

The administration, however, plans to make another effort to repeal the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), commonly referred to as a “stay in Mexico” policy, even though it was approved by a Texas-based U.S. District Court judge in August. takes steps to comply with its decision. Officials said, Matthew Kaxmaric.

A possible resumption of the MPP – even on a short-term basis – would add to a confusing mix of US policies on the Mexican border, where crossings into the United States have hit 20-year highs in recent months. The administration said it could proceed only if Mexico agreed. Officials of both the countries said that they are discussing the matter.

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Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday that it has expressed “multiple concerns” to US officials over the MPP, in particular due process, legal certainty, access to legal aid and the protection of migrants. A senior Mexican official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “there is no decision at this point” about resuming the program.

FILE – A vehicle brought asylum seekers from Tijuana, Mexico to the United States for their immigration hearing arrives at a court in San Diego, California March 19, 2019.

The Trump administration, known for harsh immigration policies, enacted MPP policy in 2019, arguing that many asylum claims were fraudulent and that applicants allowed in the United States could remain illegally if they skip a court hearing. . Biden scrapped the policy as part of his pledge to take a more humane approach to border issues soon after taking office in January.

Immigration advocates have said the program exposed migrants to violence and kidnapping in dangerous border cities, where people waited for months or years in shelters or on the street for US asylum hearings.

In March, Biden said “I make no apologies” for ending the MPP, a policy he described as sending people “not having enough to eat in a muddy situation on the edge of the Rio Grande”. did.

After Republican-led states Texas and Missouri sued Biden over his decision to end the program, Kaxmeric ruled in August that it should be reinstated. The US Supreme Court, whose 6-3 conservative majority includes three Trump-appointed justices, later accepted Kaxmeric’s decision, rejecting a bid by Biden’s administration to block it.

The administration has said it will follow Kaxmaric’s decision “in good faith” while continuing its appeal in the case. Officials said the administration plans to issue a new memorandum ending the program in the hope that it will address any legal concerns surrounding the previous one.

“Re-implementation is not something the administration wants to do,” a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official told reporters on condition of anonymity. “But in the interim we are subject to this obligation of the court.”

FILE - A Honduran migrant who waits for his court hearing for asylum seekers leaves a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico March 19, 2019.

FILE – A Honduran migrant who waits for his court hearing for asylum seekers leaves a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico March 19, 2019.

In a statement, the American Immigration Council called the re-implementation of the MPP a “betrayal” of Biden’s campaign promises, adding there is “no humane way” to carry out the protocol.

In a court filing late Thursday, the administration said that “although the MPP is not operational yet,” they are taking all necessary steps to re-implement it by next month.

Those steps include preparing courts, some in tents near the border where asylum hearings can take place. The administration said in the filing that these facilities would take about 30 days to build, cost about $14.1 million and cost $10.5 million per month to operate.

The filing said the purpose of the MPP is to span the entire south-western border, which the government deemed better to operate only in certain areas.

At the same time, Biden has abandoned another policy that Trump implemented in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which allows most migrants caught crossing the border to be rapidly expelled for public health reasons , without any kind of asylum screening. A DHS official said the policy would continue.

Mexico has also expressed its concerns over the policy, known as Title 42, which the foreign ministry said encourages repeated crossings and puts migrants at risk.

In a victory for Mexico on a different front, the United States said this week it would lift restrictions on its legal ports of entry for foreign nationals fully vaccinated in early November, non-essential travelers during the pandemic. will end the ban.

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