The Biden administration permanently ends the MPP policy

The Biden administration permanently ends the MPP policy

DHS (Department of Homeland Security) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a memorandum on June 1, 2021, announcing that the Biden administration officially rescinded the MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols) policy.

When ending the MPP, Mayorkas stated that this program “does not adequately or sustainably enhance border management in such a way as to justify the program’s extensive operational burdens and other shortfalls”. Adding to that, the DHS Secretary argued that there are other strategies to address the political asylum process without the need to affect vulnerable populations.

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What is the MPP policy?

Broadly speaking, the MPP policy, also known as “Remain in Mexico”, states that asylum seekers who arrive at the borders cannot enter or remain in the US while waiting for a response to their immigration applications, but rather they must wait in Mexican territory until their cases are resolved by an immigration court.

This policy forced thousands of asylum seekers to remain in Mexico under truly risky and precarious conditions, even in the midst of the health crisis caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

When was the MPP policy implemented and why?

This program was officially implemented by the Donald Trump administration in 2019. As the main argument for enacting such a policy, former President Trump stated that most asylum seekers take advantage of the immigration system, present “false stories” to receive international protection and work within the US despite the fact that, in its opinion, a high percentage of asylum applications are rejected.

At this point it is important to explain that asylum seekers are migrants who arrive at the US’ borders and request international assistance through this program in order to protect their lives from persecution due to their race, religion, political opinion, inter alia. They also flee dangerous situations such as war, famine, and violence.

Due to the number of asylum applications the US receives annually, these cases can take several months to resolve. Therefore, the Trump administration used to say that asylum seekers seize the opportunity to obtain financial reward in the country and therefore should not enter North American territory before their cases are approved.

What has the Biden administration done about the MPP policy so far?

The current administration of the US, headed by Democratic President Joe Biden, has never agreed with Trump’s immigration policies, which it has labeled “draconian, arbitrary, and capricious”.

Therefore, speaking specifically about the MPP policy, the DHS suspended this program until further notice during Biden’s first days in office. After a couple of weeks, the Biden administration unveiled a resettlement plan to assist asylum seekers who have been waiting in Mexico under this program and whose cases are still active.

Now that his administration permanently ended this policy, immigrant communities hope that they will have better opportunities in the US and that President Biden will remove more rules and limitations implemented by the previous administration on the local immigration system in general.

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