JAC Condemns Biden Administration’s Restarting and Expansion of Remain in Mexico Program

LOS ANGELES—Today, the Biden Administration issued a new implementation memo outlining the ways it will restart the Trump-era Remain in Mexico program (also known as MPP), in cooperation with the Mexican government, starting next week. Since its implementation by the Trump administration in 2019, Remain in Mexico has stranded tens of thousands of asylum seekers in dangerous and inhumane conditions in Mexico while awaiting their immigration court hearings in the U.S.

“This restarting and expansion of Remain in Mexico, coupled with the abhorrent Title 42 policy, represents an abject failure by the Biden administration to uphold respect for human dignity, international law protecting the right to asylum, and its own campaign promises to end the draconian immigration policies of the Trump era,” said Justice Action Center (JAC) founder and director Karen Tumlin. “We will continue to hold the administration accountable for the cruelty and harm it has decided to perpetuate and vigorously advocate for the fair, orderly, and humane asylum process we know is not only urgently needed, but wholly attainable,” she added.

While the memo claims the latest iteration of the program will “address humanitarian concerns,” the provisions outlined by DHS reflect meager offerings, such as “legal packets” and “access to telephones” as sufficient access to legal counsel for asylum seekers. And in fact, Biden’s version of Remain in Mexico will now be expanded to apply to asylum seekers from the entire Western Hemisphere, including from non-Spanish speaking countries like Haiti, Brazil and others.

Additionally, the memo does not go far enough to guarantee that unaccompanied children will be spared from the horrors of MPP. Public reports estimate that there have been at least 700 to 800 children who have presented at the border “unaccompanied,” but since they had been previously processed through Remain in Mexico with their families, they are being denied the same rights as other unaccompanied minors. JAC, in coordination with legal service provider partners, are currently engaged in litigation to force the government to ensure that children seeking safety are provided their Congressionally protected rights.

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Justice Action Center (JAC) is a new nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting for greater justice for immigrant communities by combining litigation and storytelling. JAC is committed to bringing additional litigation resources to address unmet needs, empower clients, and change the corrosive narrative around immigrants in the U.S. Learn more at justiceactioncenter.org.


Tasha Moro
Justice Action Center

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