First asylum seekers enter the US thanks to Biden's project

Biden’s plan to rescind the MPP policy

Before explaining the Biden administration’s project to allow asylum seekers to enter the US, it is imperative to understand what the MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols) or “Remain in Mexico” policy is all about.

It is no secret that the previous administration, led by former President Donald Trump, wanted to implement a merit-based immigration system. Therefore, it tried to reduce immigration at all costs and narrowed alternatives available to immigrants in need of international protection such as asylum seekers.

Speaking specifically about the political asylum process, which is a humanitarian program available to migrants fleeing precarious situations such as persecution, war, abuse and violence, the Trump administration increased restrictions and implemented multiple rules on this program, which hindered the process for the most vulnerable immigrant populations. One of these rules is the MPP policy.

This policy, which was implemented in early 2019, states that asylum seekers, who arrive at the US’ authorized ports of entry or are detained by border forces, must wait in Mexico while they receive a response to their immigration applications.

Due to conditions in which asylum seekers currently live in Mexico, President Joe Biden promised to remove this policy from day one in office. Initially, his government suspended new enrollments in the MPP program and released a plan to allow asylum seekers to enter the US .

Let’s look at some important details:

  • As of February 19, 2021, asylum seekers under the MPP, who still have active cases, have the possibility to process their applications at one of the authorized ports and enter the US, where they will have to attend their immigration hearings and follow legal guidelines in case their applications are rejected.
  • Authorized ports of entry designated by the Biden government will be able to process up to 300 asylum applications on a daily basis.
  • This project will benefit between 25,000 and 26,000 asylum seekers residing in Mexico under the MPP policy and who still have active cases.

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First asylum seekers enter the US thanks to Biden’s project

On Friday, when Biden’s project went into effect, 25 asylum seekers were able to enter the US for the first time after waiting several months or even more than a year in dangerous cities of Mexico, temporary shelters or refugee camps.

They now have the possibility to reside within the country until they present their cases to an immigration court. Due to the global pandemic, after entering the country, they must be in preventive isolation to avoid another massive outbreak of COVID-19.

This is extremely hopeful news for immigrant communities, which have experienced difficult situations during the past four years under the Donald Trump administration.

Other than that, it is worth mentioning that this project does not yet support asylum seekers who do not have active cases as restrictions on grounds of health emergency are still in place.

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