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US Admitting Asylum Seekers, No Longer Enforcing “Remain in Mexico” Program

todayJune 27, 2021 4

Background
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Former President Trump’s program deporting asylum seekers that blunder on court hearings is lifted, allowing migrants to attend court proceedings domestically.

What We Know:

  • In 2019, the US Department of Homeland Security created the Migrant Protection Protocols, also called the “Remain in Mexico” program. The program sends certain asylum seekers back to Mexico to await their case processing in the US court.
  • 70,000 non-Mexican migrants were obligated to wait outside the US for court hearings. So far, the Biden Administration has permitted 11,000 asylum seekers to proceed with entry.
  • Those permitted entry must meet criteria set by humanitarian groups selected by the president. Some of the groups include the International Rescue Committee, London-based Save the Children, two U.S.-based organizations, HIAS and Kids in Need of Defense, two Mexico-based organizations, Asylum Access, and the Institute for Women in Migration.
  • Many pending migrants face a lack of shelter, violence, kidnappings, and inhumane conditions on the Mexican side of the border. These migrants meet the criteria to be considered a top priority. Other top priorities are asylum seekers who have waited the longest. Aside from these priorities, specific standards have not been announced. Some criticize the lack of publicized admissions standards, potential loopholes, and power vested in organizations. Critics call for clear, public criteria, as well as assurance that the most vulnerable migrants are granted entry first.

Asylum seekers in Tijuana sleep underneath the tarps and shades provided for them by donations. (Alejandro Tamayo / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

  • Those without current cases in the US are urged to stay put for the time being, with Vice President Kamala Harris stating directly, “I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border,” she said. Despite the legality of seeking asylum, Harris alludes to the inability of the United States to process migrants.
  • Pending migrants with current court cases eligible for entry must register online and create an appointment. This permits consideration of admission to one of three southern border ports. COVID-19 testing is also required for asylum seekers before admission.

Although the US-Mexico border is still closed, eligible migrants enduring unsafe conditions are encouraged to pursue their court hearings in the safety of the US.

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