Asylum seekers under the Donald Trump administration
Setting a record, the Trump administration has substantially transformed the immigration system through more than 400 executive actions, which have hampered immigration processes and alternatives available for foreigners to come to the US, including highly skilled workers.
One of the processes most affected under the Trump administration is political asylum. In the opinion of the current president of the US, which does not always come from reliable and verifiable sources but simply from a personal opinion, asylum seekers often:
- Take advantage of the immigration system to work in the US.
- Create “false stories” to enter the country under the premise of political asylum.
- Reside in the US while waiting for responses to their immigration applications. President Trump argues that most asylum applications are rejected, but that immigrants take advantage of the local economy during waiting times, which can be even more than a year.
- Use social services or public benefits excessively, which should be available for the American population.
Thus, over the past four years, the Trump administration has implemented multiple policies that substantially restrict the political asylum process. That is the case of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) or “Remain in Mexico.”
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The current situation of asylum seekers under MPP
The “Remain in Mexico” or MPP policy states that asylum seekers must remain in Mexico while they await responses to their immigration applications in the US. However, the current situation of immigrant communities under this policy is quite risky.
They normally arrive at the US’ borders without personal belongings or economic stability to request international protection through political asylum. Previously, they had the opportunity to reside within the US with their families and work, but since the Trump administration implemented MPP in 2019, asylum seekers live in temporary shelters in dangerous cities of Mexico.
Asylum seekers under the MPP policy currently survive thanks to donations from humanitarian organizations, activist groups or neighboring communities, who constantly look after their well-being.
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HRW asks the incoming government to remove the “Remain in Mexico” policy
Since the American population elected Joe Biden (Democratic political party) as the 46th president of the US, several organizations and activist groups are asking the incoming government to remove the MPP policy and offer permanent protection to the most vulnerable immigrant communities.
For instance, the humanitarian organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), in a recently published report, exposes the testimony of several immigrant families sent to Mexico under the MPP policy, including single mothers with infants, toddlers and newborns.
HRW urges the Biden government to improve the immigration system to protect the integrity of asylum seekers and prevent future administrations from re-implementing policies such as MPP.
This humanitarian organization states that “Among other urgent steps, the Biden administration should revert to the global norm of allowing asylum seekers to remain in the country where their claims are heard. In line with the president-elect’s campaign promises, the Biden administration should immediately terminate the MPP program and cease all returns of asylum seekers to Mexico.”
The president-elect has openly expressed his intention to remove this immigration policy, which puts the most vulnerable immigrant communities at risk. However, Biden has also explained that for changes to be harmonious and effective, his government will need at least six months to reverse these restrictions.
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