Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) or “Remain in Mexico” policy will begin again following negotiations with the government of Mexico. The announcement comes after Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas issued a memo at the end of October expressing the Biden Administration’s support for ending the use of the Trump-era policy.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, which has previously called on the Biden Administration to terminate the use of inhumane immigration policies implemented by the Trump Administration at the border, like MPP and Title 42, rebuked the decision and urged the Administration to do everything in its power to terminate “Remain in Mexico” once and for all.
“People arriving at the U.S. southern border are fleeing devastating conditions that have only become more pressing in the last year. The least they deserve is to face a fair immigration system that respects their right to seek asylum under international and domestic law,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director at JRS/USA.
“The Biden Administration must demonstrate a consistent commitment to safe and equitable access to asylum. Instead, it continues to block most asylum seekers from petitioning for protection under Title 42 and now has agreed to turn back all asylum seekers to Mexico where they are exposed to dangerous and unstable conditions,” added Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy and Operations at JRS/USA.
“The Administration has taken concrete steps over the past several months to move individuals out of MPP and allow them to once again wait safely in the United States while their asylum claims are processed. With the announcement made today, the Administration has taken a clear step backwards by opting for inertia and maintaining the status quo.”
In a report released in 2020, JRS/USA discussed the impact of MPP on asylum seekers and featured testimonies from those affected by these policies, as well as recommendations to policymakers on how the U.S. should respond. More than 70,000 people enrolled in MPP faced violence and insecurity in Mexico. JRS/USA has recommended that the Administration process individuals currently enrolled in MPP out of the program as soon as possible, transfer them to other dockets within the U.S. immigration system, and allow them to wait in safety in the United States.