Before President Donald Trump acted, foreigners who entered the United States illegally and sought to claim asylum were processed and then … released into the United States.
They were then required to return for a hearing on their status, but that would usually take months, sometimes years.
Then the Trump administration enacted the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which became known as the “Remain In Mexico” policy. The protocols did just that: foreigners who entered the U.S. illegally were processed, then released into Mexico to await their hearings.
Instead of waiting, though, thousands of migrants who were returned to Mexico gave up their asylum claims and went home, Fox News reports.
So far, the administration has returned more than 55,000 migrants to Mexico. The assessment describes the policy as an “indispensable tool in addressing the ongoing crisis at the southern border and restoring integrity to the immigration system.” It says that it has completed almost 13,000 cases as of Oct. 21.
The new assessment, significantly, cites estimates from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that approximately 20,000 migrants are currently being sheltered in Mexico near the U.S. border as they still seek entry to the U.S. The assessment says that number, though, suggests “a significant proportion of the 55,000+ MPP returnees have chosen to abandon their claims.”
In an assessment of the Migrant Protection Protocols filed on Monday, the government said “At peak of the crisis in May 2019, there were more than 4,800 aliens crossing the border daily — representing an average of more than three apprehensions per minute.”
But those numbers have plunged since the Trump administration enacted MPP, according to the assessment:
• Since a recent peak of more than 144,000 in May 2019, total enforcement actions — representing the number of aliens apprehended between points of entry or found inadmissible at ports of entry — have decreased by 64%, through September 2019.
• Border encounters with Central American families — who were the main driver of the crisis and comprise a majority of MPP-amenable aliens — have decreased by approximately 80%.
• Although MPP is one among many tools that DHS has employed in response to the border crisis, DHS has observed a connection between MPP implementation and decreasing enforcement actions at the border — including a rapid and substantial decline in apprehensions in those areas where the most amenable aliens have been processed and returned to Mexico pursuant to MPP.
“We’re now sending the message that, if you’re coming here as an economic migrant, you’re not going to be allowed into the United States,” Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said this month. “That’s driving a lot of people to return.”
The assessment also said that only about 15% of Central American nationals who make asylum claims have been granted protection by an immigration judge. Grant rates for residents of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras came in at just 21%. That means about 4 out of 5 foreigners who were allowed to stay in the U.S. pending hearings were not granted asylum.
“MPP is one among several tools DHS has employed effectively to reduce the incentive for aliens to assert claims for relief or protection, many of which may be meritless, as a means to enter the
United States to live and work during the pendency of multi-year immigration proceedings,” the assessment concluded. “Even more importantly, MPP also provides an opportunity for those entitled to relief to obtain it within a matter of months. MPP, therefore, is a cornerstone of DHS’s ongoing efforts to restore integrity to the immigration system — and of the United States agreement with Mexico to address the crisis at our shared border.”