The Biden administration said on Friday it plans to reinstate the Trump-era border policy known as Remain in Mexico, which forced at least 70,000 asylum seekers to stay in Mexico, many for extended periods and in deprived and dangerous conditions, while they waited for their cases to be considered US courts.
Joe Biden suspended the policy formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) in his first days in office, but a federal judge ordered his administration to put it back into place.
In a court filing late on Friday, the US justice department said the program’s reinstatement depended on approval from the Mexican government, which is asking for the asylum cases to be settled in six months and for the US to ensure the people affected have timely and accurate information as well as better access to legal counsel. The program is expected to be back in effect in mid-November.
Donald Trump introduced Remain in Mexico in January 2019. From the beginning, advocates criticized the program because it put highly vulnerable migrants, mostly from Central and South America, at serious risk of physical harm and illness as they waited in some of the most dangerous cities in the world. It also fails to address the forces pushing people north to the US-Mexico border and the huge backlogs in US immigration courts.
Campaign group Human Rights Watch said in a January report about the policy that affected asylum seekers it interviewed, including children, “described rape or attempted rape and other sexual assault, abduction for ransom, extortion, armed robbery, and other crimes committed against them”.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immigrants’ rights policy director, Omar Jadwat, said via Twitter that the news was “appalling” and acknowledged the Biden administration was required by a court order to make a “good faith” effort to restart it.
“They had a lot of options here, including re-terminating MPP promptly and seeking to vacate the order,” Jadwat said.
To restart the program, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to spend $14.1m to reopen temporary courtrooms located in tents in Laredo and Brownsville, テキサス, which will cost $10.5m a month to operate, according to a court filing.
六月に, the DHS secretary, アレハンドロ・マヨルカス, formally put an end to the policy and in a memo said: “MPP had mixed effectiveness in achieving several of its central goals and that the program experienced significant challenges.”