Judge orders Biden to reinstate the MPP
On Friday, August 13, 2021, a federal judge ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the MPP (Migrant Protection Protocol), also known as “Remain in Mexico”. The judge for the Northern District of Texas, who was appointed by Trump, stated that the Biden administration “did not consider some important factors and several of the main benefits” when rescinding this policy.
It is important to clarify that this order responds to a lawsuit filed by the states of Missouri and Texas. Adding to that, the judge in charge of the case postponed the official verdict for seven days, allowing the Biden administration to appeal the decision.
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What is the MPP and what were its repercussions?
In January 2019, the Trump administration officially implemented the MPP policy, which stated that asylum seekers must wait in Mexican territory until they attend their hearings in an immigration court or until they receive a response to their applications.
When implementing this rule, the former Republican president explained that a vast majority of asylum applications were denied, but that, because of long waiting times, asylum seekers took advantage of the local immigration system to remain in the US, work and even access several social services.
Thus, the Trump administration thought it was fair to allow into the country only immigrants who had already legitimately received political asylum status. Under this rule, hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers remained in Mexico for a considerable period of time, going through truly precarious conditions and at the mercy of natural disasters and local gangs.
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The Biden administration had already decided on this policy
Democratic President Joe Biden took office in January 2021 and, during his first days in office, suspended new enrollments in the MPP program, stating that it was a “draconian and inhumane” policy and that his intention was to remove his Republican predecessor’s restrictions on immigration.
In mid-February, the Biden administration unveiled a resettlement plan to allow asylum seekers under the “Remain in Mexico” policy to enter the US, as long as they meet certain eligibility requirements. To date, hundreds of asylum seekers have had the opportunity to leave the temporary camps in Mexico and begin a new life in the US.
Adding to that, in early June, Biden’s DHS (Department of Homeland Security) permanently rescinded the MPP policy in a memorandum, stating that it was an inefficient and unnecessary program.
However, it is still uncertain what will happen after the judge’s order and the Biden administration has yet to comment on the matter.
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