The Biden administration announced on Friday that it will implement an additional measure to end Trump-era immigration policies. The United States will allow migrants who are waiting in Mexico under the Trump policy to enter the country as they seek asylum. This reverses the policy by the Trump administration that required them to remain in Mexico as they awaited a hearing.
Earlier this week, however, Biden’s team said that they would be turning away large groups of people who come to America seeking asylum.
As reported by The Daily Wire,
“[White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki] described the coronavirus as one reason for the administration’s inability to process migrants seeking to come to the United States. In addition, she said that they ‘have not had the time, as an administration, to put in place humane, comprehensive process for processing individuals who are coming to the border.’
She also remarked that while there have been rare instances of people coming into the country and awaiting a court date, this will not be true for the majority of people who arrive at the border.
‘Now is not the time to come and the vast majority of people will be turned away,’ she said, adding that ‘asylum processes at the border will not occur immediately,’ either.”
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement that “the U.S. government is committed to rebuilding a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system.” However, he reiterated Psaki’s comments from earlier in the week, noting that because of the pandemic, “restrictions at the border remain in place and will be enforced.”
February 19 will mark the beginning of reprocessing for people who were part of the Migrant Protection Protocols under the Trump administration.
According to USA Today, “There will be three ports of entry where people with asylum cases can be reprocessed” with “up to 300 people” likely being process daily at the three ports. The estimated number of people who are in Mexico awaiting entry is reported to be around 25,000.”
The officials also added that people who will be entering the country and going through the re-processing structures will be tested for COVID-19. Such testing will be “issued through one of the international nonprofits and funded by the United States government.” Mexico is working with the United States in order to determine which individuals are eligible for reprocessing.
On January 29, 2019, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security began the Migrant Protection Protocols. It was one of the “measures that the Trump administration implemented to restrict asylum and crack down on unauthorized immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.”
According to USA Today, data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University “showed that 27,000 asylum seekers under the program had been regularly attending their hearings before the pandemic restrictions, while 12,000 more are awaiting a first hearing.”
On the first day of Biden’s administration, the DHS said the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy would stop immediately, but this only applied to people who were newly enrolling. Biden recently signed an executive order that will review the Migrant Protections Protocol. On Friday, DHS officials “said [reprocessing migrants] is phase one of tackling MPP” and “noted more ports of entry may be added later.”