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April 13, 2023
The Biden administration is taking steps to restart by mid-November former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program that forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for U.S. court hearings.
Administration officials told the press Friday that Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) will be temporarily reinstated in mid-November as the administration prepares another attempt to end the program. The Remain in Mexico policy requires most asylum seekers who reach the southern border — usually after leaving Central America or the Caribbean — to remain in Mexico while US courts review their claims of persecution. Biden previously campaigned against MPP, claiming it was inhumane.
“We have to comply in good faith and take steps to reinstate this court-ordered [program] and we will be doing just that,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Friday on Air Force Once. “DHS has appealed [the court rulings] and announced that it intends to issue a second memorandum terminating [the program] that intends to address the concerns raised by the courts” [New York Post].
Jean-Pierre didn’t say what would happen if Mexico refused to participate. Trump secured Mexico’s cooperation in 2019 after repeatedly threatening economic consequences. At one point, he threatened to close the US-Mexico border in response to large caravans of people headed toward the US from Central America. President Biden scrapped the policy this year after campaigning on welcoming asylum seekers.
A federal judge in August ordered the administration to restart the program as border apprehensions hit sustained 21-year monthly highs with 1.5 million arrests in fiscal 2021. The court rulings forcing the Biden administration to restore the program found that its termination may have been “arbitrary and capricious.” US District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled last month that the Biden administration can no longer cite COVID-19 to rapidly deport migrant family units. The White House defended that deportation rationale as a matter of public health, not immigration policy [The Blaze].
Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday that it has expressed a “number of concerns” over MPP to U.S. officials, particularly around due process, legal certainty, access to legal aid and the safety of migrants. A senior Mexican official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “there is no decision at this point” about the program’s restart [Reuters].
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WALL STREET JOURNAL