DHS Suspends Immigrant Enrollment in the MPP Program

The Biden administration suspends "Remain in Mexico"

The most vulnerable immigrant communities and the Trump administration

The Trump administration always tried to reduce immigration at all costs, both legal and illegal. The former president and his cabinet used all the tools and strategies at their disposal to decrease the number of foreigners entering the US, including extremely vulnerable populations such as asylum seekers, refugees or unaccompanied immigrant minors.

Former President Trump repeatedly stated his ideal of changing the current immigration system for merit-based alternatives and substantially reducing humanitarian programs since, in his opinion, immigrants increase the unemployment rate, the crime rate and take advantage of programs such as political asylum to work and access social benefits without meeting the mandatory requirements to request international protection.

It is important to explain that, despite the fact that these premises have been contradicted by multiple studies and research, the Trump administration considerably restricted opportunities for the most vulnerable immigrant communities through strict policies and almost unattainable requirements. Adding to that, the sudden arrival of the global Coronavirus pandemic also allowed the Trump government to pause immigration almost completely for a considerable period of time.

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The policy that forced thousands of asylum seekers to remain in Mexico

As part of its action plan to reduce the number of asylum seekers in the US, the Trump administration implemented in 2019 the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) or “Remain in Mexico.”

This immigration policy forces asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while they receive a response to their immigration applications. President Trump argued that most asylum applications are rejected because immigrants do not meet the mandatory requirements, but knowingly reside and work in the US until they receive the response to their requests.

As a result, thousands of asylum seekers currently live in dangerous cities of Mexico, at the mercy of local gangs, often without access to basic services, and survive thanks to the support of humanitarian organizations, activist groups and neighboring communities.

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The Biden administration suspends “Remain in Mexico”

The American population elected Democratic nominee Joe Biden as the country’s 46th president, who took office on January 20, 2021. Since Biden believes that the US, being a first world country, has a duty to offer protection to vulnerable communities, promised to lift Trump’s restrictive policies and relocate asylum seekers.

During his first day in office, the Biden administration reversed multiple restrictions on the immigration system. For instance, the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) announced the suspension of the MPP or “Remain in Mexico” policy as of January 21.

DHS states that there will be no new enrollment in this program and asylum seekers currently living in Mexico under this policy must remain there until further notice, while the Biden administration improves resettlement capacity within the US to avoid an immigration crisis.

However, DHS also stated that current travel restrictions due to the health crisis caused by the global pandemic will remain in effect and only essential trade-related travel will be allowed. The Biden administration will likely outline the process for asylum seekers soon.

This is extremely positive news for asylum seekers, who waited patiently in Mexico for the outcome of the presidential elections and yearn for more alternatives under the Biden administration.

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