Biden Admin Finalizes Plan to Reinstate Trump-Era 'Remain in Mexico' Policy at Southern Border
In March 2020, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden criticized US President Donald Trump's 'Remain in Mexico' policy as a "dangerous" and "inhumane" immigration program that goes against US values. While the Biden administration has since suspended the program, the SCOTUS upheld a lower court order calling for its reinstatement.
Beginning next week, non-Mexican asylum seekers at the southern US border will be returned to Mexico via a Trump-era policy, according to remarks from the Biden administration on Thursday.
"All individuals from the Western Hemisphere will potentially be eligible," a senior US official said, as reported by CBS News
The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), informally termed the 'Remain in Mexico' program, allows US officials to block non-Mexican or other foreign individuals from entering the US from Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings.
The MPP calls for the individual to return to Mexico, where the government will give them "appropriate humanitarian protections."
According to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a number of changes were made to the MPP program to address humanitarian concerns raised by the Mexican government on Friday.
Per the memo, the Mexican government requested COVID-19 vaccine support, assistance with general medical care and additional resources to improve living conditions for migrants awaiting their court date in the US. Access to attorneys was another concern raised by Mexico City.
Mexico's government declared in a Thursday statement that those concerns were addressed and, as a result, the country vows to "not return to their countries of origin certain migrants who have an appointment to appear before an immigration judge in the United States to request asylum in that country."
The reinstatement comes in accordance with an August decision by Trump-appointed US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. The federal judge in Texas argued that the Biden administration and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas "failed to consider several critical factors" before halting the program.
The Biden administration agreed to comply with the order after both a federal court and the Supreme Court of the US
moved to uphold the Texas court ruling.
The move has been opposed by a number of refugee and human rights groups, such as the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and Human Rights First.
Eleanor Acer, senior director for refugee protection at HRF, argued that "a policy that returns people seeking refuge to a place where they are targeted for kidnappings, torture and persecution is by definition a violation of our refugee and torture convention legal obligations."
Acer's comments align with those tweeted by Biden a little over a year ago, describing the program as "against everything [the US] stands for as a nation of immigrants."
The policy will initially be reimplemented at seven US entry points, including San Diego, California, and the Texas border cities of El Paso, Laredo and Brownsville.