The Biden administration formally ended the Trump administrations “Migrant Protection Protocols” on Tuesday, months after President Joe Biden rescinded what was informally known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy through an executive order, again allowing illegal immigrants seeking asylum to wait in the United States until their case comes up for hearing.
In a seven-page memo distributed Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security head Alejandro Mayorkas announced that the MPP, which kept 70,000 migrants in camps below the United States-Mexico border while they waited for an immigration judge to adjudicate their asylum claims, had come to an end.
“The announcement appeared to be a foregone conclusion after Biden promised as a candidate to end the policy, known informally as ‘Remain in Mexico,’ but he left a window open by ordering a review before shutting it down permanently,” the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Mayorkas made the final decision to end, rather than update or append the policy, writing that it “would not be consistent with this Administration’s vision and values and would be a poor use of the Department’s resources.”
Biden’s executive order — and this subsequent formal decision — apply only to those asylum seekers who appeared at the border after Biden’s inauguration, leaving around 70,000 individuals to either return home or reapply for asylum under the new policy, though the Biden administration has yet to say whether they will reconsider any cases adjudicated during the Trump administration and found wanting.
“Since Feb. 19, about 11,200 people with active cases have been allowed to return to the United States to wait for a ruling, a process that can take years in the backlogged court system,” the AP noted. “The administration has yet to say if tens of thousands more whose cases were either dismissed or denied will get another chance.”
The Biden administration contends that its changes to Trump-era immigration policy are not to blame for the sudden influx of asylum seekers and child migrants, nor the shocking number of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehensions, which have numbered in the tens of thousands for the months of April and May. CBP, however, encountered a “record number” of illegal immigrants in April, per CNN, far more than during the same period of 2020.
Immigration activists are hoping for even further liberalization of existing DHS policies. According to an Associated Press report, the National Immigration Justice Center is planning to present Biden’s DHS with a proposal to allow aliens who have been deported to petition for their return and to allow immigrants applying for a green card to avoid some questions about past criminal affiliations.
“Is a long shot: White House officials have never publicly mentioned the idea, and it doesn’t yet have a supporter in Congress,” the Associated Press noted in a separate story. “The campaign, however, shows how immigrant advocacy has become emboldened after four years of hardline immigration policies under former President Donald Trump.”
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