US President Joe Biden’s senior aide Roberta Jacobson said on Friday that the administration is working on a system to process the migrants who are waiting in Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) programme.
"We're reviewing now how we can process the migrants who are already in this programme," the aide said in a call, adding that the administration would process people "in a much more rapid manner than in the past."
She called on migrants not to rush to the US border, saying it would not speed up the process. "Please, wait," she said.
Tens of thousands of migrants already enrolled in the MPP programme continue to wait in encampments across the border in Mexico, with hearings reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) policy requires asylum-seeking migrants to stay in Mexico while they wait for their court proceedings. The programme has reportedly been crucial in helping address the migration crisis on the US-Mexico border.
After massive caravans of migrants from Central American countries seeking asylum began to move toward the United States through Mexico in the fall of 2018, US President Donald Trump had to declare a national emergency in February to secure funds to build a barrier on the border with Mexico to tackle the crisis.
Mexico later agreed to tighten controls on its northern border following a steadily rise in punitive import tariffs. In the final three months of 2019, as reported by US Customs and Border Protection, apprehensions of illegal border crossers from the three Central American nations had slowed to about 10,000 per month, compared with previous monthly rates exceeding 100,000 each month.
January 19 was the last full day of Donald Trump’s presidency. In the hours after Joe Biden was inaugurated, he began the process of rolling back many of Trump’s policies, issuing executive orders that included halting construction of the border wall on the US-Mexico border.
Meanwhile, the population of a camp in the Mexican border city of Matamoros, across the river from Brownsville, Texas, has been continuously growing, according to migrants and aid workers, cited by Reuters.
"It's been growing because people think that if you're in the camp, you'll be able to enter (the United States) first," said Honduran migrant Oscar Borjas, who estimated up to 800 people live in the camp. The migrants, however, urged the US administration to act soon.