Biden administration makes second attempt to end Trump-era ‘Remain-in-Mexico’ asylum policy

The Biden administration on Friday announced its second try to terminate a Trump-era border coverage that forces asylum seekers to remain in Mexico till their U.S. immigration courtroom date.

This comes two weeks after the administration complied with a Texas federal judge’s order to reinstate the coverage, often known as “Stay in Mexico,” by mid-November. 

Whereas the administration is finishing up the order to reimplement the coverage, Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas introduced his intentions to finish “Stay in Mexico” if the order is lifted by the federal choose who issued it or an appellate courtroom.

He issued a primary memo in June that terminated this system till the federal choose’s order thwarted his plan.

The “Stay in Mexico” coverage, formally often known as the Migrant Safety Protocols, or MPP, was first applied in 2019 by former President Donald Trump amid a rise of Central American households crossing the southwest border. 

Within the memo, Mayorkas conceded that MPP possible lowered unauthorized migration to the U.S.-Mexico border underneath the Trump administration. However he mentioned it imposed “substantial and unjustifiable human prices” on the hundreds of migrants who waited in Mexico, which demonstrates a necessity to finish this system.

“The advantages of MPP are far outweighed by the prices of continuous to make use of this system on a programmatic foundation, in no matter kind,” Mayorkas mentioned within the new, four-page memo.  

“MPP not solely undercuts the Administration’s skill to implement critically wanted and foundational adjustments to the immigration system, however it additionally fails to offer the truthful course of and humanitarian protections that every one individuals deserve,” he mentioned. 

President Joe Biden suspended MPP on his first day in workplace, calling it inhumane as a result of violence migrants confronted whereas ready in Mexico. 

This prompted the Republican-led states of Texas and Missouri to sue the Biden administration in April over ending the coverage. In August, a federal choose for the Northern District of Texas sided with the states and ordered the administration to reinstate the coverage pending the result of the lawsuit.

The Supreme Courtroom additionally declined the administration’s request to dam the choose’s order in August.

Within the Friday memo, Mayorkas outlined the Biden administration’s justification for ending MPP in an effort to handle the federal choose’s issues.

For example, he famous that the Mexican authorities mentioned it is not going to settle for migrants that return to Mexico underneath MPP except “substantial enhancements” are made to this system.

However such enhancements would pull sources and personnel away from different “productive efforts” to handle the foundation causes of migration and battle transnational felony and smuggling networks, in accordance with Mayorkas.

“I’ve concluded that there are inherent issues with this system that no quantity of sources can sufficiently repair,” he mentioned within the memo. 

Mayorkas additionally famous that migrants despatched to Mexico underneath MPP have been topic to “excessive violence and insecurity” by the hands of transnational felony organizations.

An estimated 70,000 migrants have been returned to Mexico underneath MPP since 2019, according to the American Immigration Council. Migrants topic to the coverage typically waited months, if not years, to see an immigration choose.

Whereas ready in Mexico, in addition they confronted threats of extortion, sexual assault and kidnapping, in accordance with Human Rights First. There have been not less than 1,544 reported circumstances of rape, kidnapping and assault, amongst different crimes, dedicated towards migrants despatched again underneath the Trump-era coverage by February 2021.

Mayorkas mentioned the Biden administration can lower migration to the southern border and supply safety to migrants who qualify for asylum by different insurance policies being developed. This features a fast-tracked immigration courtroom program and a proposed rule that will permit asylums officers to “produce well timed and truthful decision-making” about asylums claims.

“As soon as absolutely applied, these insurance policies will tackle migratory flows extra successfully than MPP, whereas holding true to our nation’s values,” the Division of Homeland Safety mentioned in an announcement.

The Biden administration’s newest try to finish the coverage was supported by some Democrats, who’ve argued towards reinstating it.

“The Stay in Mexico coverage is likely one of the most harmful vestiges of Trump’s anti-immigrant legacy, and must be completely discarded together with the numerous different remaining Trump admin insurance policies willfully designed to punish & deter refugees from legally in search of security within the US,” Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said in a Twitter post.

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