The program sends asylum seekers back to Mexico to await their hearings.
HAVANA TIMES – After losing a court battle to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy, the Biden administration has signed a new agreement to restart the controversial policy. The rule forces those seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico while their cases are under review by US Immigration authorities.
According to US media reports, the program officially known as “Protocols for Migrant Protection” will be rolled out at four border stations first, beginning on December 6th. This decision will immediately affect asylum seekers who attempt to turn themselves in at San Diego, California, or Brownsville, Laredo and El Paso Texas.
The controversial program was put in place in 2019, under the administration of former US president Donald Trump. Upon taking office, President Joe Biden ended the policy, but a lawsuit by Texas and Missouri forced him to put it back into effect, pending Mexico’s approval, which has now been obtained.
It’s hoped that the reactivation will include certain changes. “Mexico has demanded a series of humanitarian improvements, as their condition for accepting the migrants,” stated a US official. According to the Washington Post, these conditions include guarantees that the asylum seekers will have access to legal advice, and a commitment to process their requests within 180 days.
The Trump administration sent over 60,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico, where they often found themselves attacked by criminal bands, extortionists and kidnappers.
Joe Biden himself called the program “inhumane” and quickly ended it after taking office. However, Trump-appointed judges in Texas and Missouri sued the administration in US Federal Courts, claiming it put an undue burden on the states. In August, they succeeded in obtaining a Court order forcing the Biden Administration to resume the policy.
In the bilateral negotiations, Mexico has sought to assure that the return of the migrants be carried out in a more orderly manner, and that migrants who are particularly vulnerable, including unaccompanied children, pregnant women, physically or mentally ill people, older people, indigenous people and members of the LGBTQ community, be excluded from the policy.