LOS ANGELES—The Biden Administration announced via legal filings late yesterday that it aimed to restart Remain in Mexico, a devastating Trump-era policy also known as MPP, as early as mid-November.
Remain in Mexico forces U.S.-bound asylum seekers to wait in Mexico indefinitely while their cases make their way through the U.S. immigration court system. Asylum seekers have described harrowing experiences of kidnapping, rape, and other human rights abuses which have been documented extensively by legal and humanitarian organizations at the border. And while the program and other Biden asylum policies harm all people seeking safety, they inflict particular harm on Black asylum seekers, given the rampant anti-Black racism in Mexico, as well as on all unaccompanied children and their families. The COVID-19 pandemic further endangers asylum seekers, as they are forced to wait in crowded, unsanitary shelters or encampments.
“There is no moral, humane, or lawful way to restart the Remain in Mexico program,” said Karen Tumlin, founder and director of JAC. “Given the Biden Administration’s horrific treatment of majority Haitian asylum seekers in Del Rio, Texas; continuation of Title 42; and now Remain in Mexico; President Biden’s border policies are dangerously close to President Trump’s, despite numerous condemnations and promises on the campaign trail. The administration had two months to follow the leadership of immigrant communities and organizations who called for swift and decisive action to end the MPP policy for good. In restarting MPP, President Biden is failing the voters who elected him, the international human rights community, and most importantly, the people who are fleeing their countries to save their lives.
“If the President and his administration want to restore a safe and working asylum system, they should have long ago issued a new memo terminating Remain in Mexico and then speedily sought to use that memo to get out from under the current court injunction requiring them to take good faith efforts to implement the policy. Failing to do this represents an deliberate choice by the Biden administration not to prioritize ending the heinous Remain in Mexico program that guarantees immeasurable human suffering,” Tumlin concluded.
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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.