Stay in Mexico Policy Reinstated
In January 2019, the Trump administration and the US Department of Homeland Security implemented the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. This policy allows US border patrol officers to return asylum seekers to Mexico while they wait for their court dates.
Almost two years later, in February 2021, the Biden administration ended the policy but then it was rapidly put back into place by the courts. Unfortunately, in August of the same year, a federal judge in Texas ordered the Trump-era border policy to be reinstated. Additionally, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay to block the re-enforcement of the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Because of this decision, the U.S. government is now required to re-enforce the policy.
In December 2021, the Biden administration announced they came to an agreement with the requirements by the Mexican government including COVID-19 vaccination, completion of cases within 180 days, and inquiries into fears of return to Mexico.
Now in 2022, Biden administration officials outlined a plan for the implementation of the policy once again, while also committing to ending the program. At the same time, the Biden administration states they are working with legal service providers to help asylum seekers with their cases.
What is the Trump administration’s MPP or “Remain in Mexico” policy?
A policy enacted by Trump administration, the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program is a border policy administered by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Asylum seekers who try to enter the US at the US-Mexico border would be sent back to Mexico to await their court proceedings. Once the asylum seekers become part of the MPP program, they can face months or even years awaiting court decisions. This is because not every asylum seeker is able to get legal representation.
The majority of the asylum seekers that are being sent back to Mexico come from Spanish Speaking countries:
- El Salvador
Sometimes there are exceptions to who will be sent back to Mexico, a DHS memo exempts Mexican nationals, unaccompanied children, and “individuals from vulnerable populations…on a case-by-case basis.”
The question is what happens to asylum seekers while awaiting their court date. Many asylum seekers have been forced to live in makeshift camps. These camps don’t have adequate access to clean water, showers, and bathrooms. Because of the cold temperatures, many asylum seekers have gotten sick in the camps. Furthermore, border patrol agents have blocked asylum seekers from attending their court hearings.
The future of the Trump-era policy “Remain in Mexico” remains uncertain a-mist the political climate in the capital.
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