The Biden administration announced on Monday that is suspending Remain in Mexico, the anti-asylum policy it attempted to terminate nearly year ago next week, only to be then blocked by a GOP-led lawsuit.
In a surprising decision this past June, the right-wing Supreme Court ruled the president acted lawfully in terminating the policy, which forces asylum-seekers to wait in dangerous regions of Mexico for their U.S. immigration court dates. That decision was finally certified this month, leading to the court that ruled against the administration last summer to lift its injunction this week.
RELATED STORY: Following SCOTUS ruling, groups urge Biden admin to prevent further harm under Remain in Mexico
In a statement Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said no further asylum-seekers will be enrolled in the policy, officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). DHS said, “individuals currently in MPP in Mexico will be disenrolled when they return for their next scheduled court date.”
“As Secretary Mayorkas has said, MPP has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border,” the statement continued. “The Department will provide additional information in the coming days. MPP enrollees should follow the directions on their court documents and tear sheets to appear for their scheduled court date as required.”
“After years of advocating against Trump’s misguided anti-immigrant #MPP policy, I’m glad the Biden administration can now move forward with putting an end to this policy once and for all,” tweeted New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. The senator and El Paso Rep. Veronica Escobar led a letter last year that noted over 1,500 public reports of rape, kidnapping, torture, trafficking, and other crimes carried out against asylum seekers and migrants sent back to Mexico from January 2019 to early 2021. While CBS News reports that more than 5,700 asylum-seekers have been sent to Mexico under the Biden administration’s reimplementation of the policy, the number could be as high as 7,000.
“After three and a half years of advocacy, Refugees International celebrates the end of Remain in Mexico—a program that subjected asylum-seekers to insecurity and suffering at our border,” Yael Schacher, Refugees International’s Deputy Director for the Americas and Europe, said in a statement received by Daily Kos. “Now the administration must swiftly bring those waiting in Mexico into the United States to pursue their cases.”
In the second memo, again attempting to end Remain in Mexico last October, Mayorkas cited the “extreme violence and substantial hardships faced by those returned to Mexico to await their immigration court proceedings, as well as substantial danger traveling to and from ports of entry to those hearings.” The policy was, in fact, a boon to violent cartels, who targeted asylum-seekers near ports of entry.
While the fight to end another anti-asylum policy, the unscientific Title 42 order, still continues on, the administration has taken a just step forward in not enrolling any further people in Remain in Mexico. It should now be outright terminated. “We hope this marks the beginning of the end of dangerous externalization policies, a recommitment to the fundamental refugee law principal of non-refoulement, and to fulfilling a promise to rebuild a fair asylum system,” Schacher continued.
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Asylum-seekers hope for speedy end to Remain in Mexico policy following Supreme Court decision