A Trump-era policy under which migrants seeking asylum in the United States must wait in Mexico for their applications to be processed will resume, the two countries announced Thursday.
Under then-president Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program, tens of thousands of non-Mexican asylum seekers — mostly from Central America — were sent back over the border pending the outcome of their applications.
When Democrat Joe Biden came to power with the promise of a more humane immigration policy, he began to dismantle the program, officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
That move made its way through the US court system, prompting the administration to eventually ask the Supreme Court for a stay in re-instating the program.
But in August, the court delivered a setback to the Biden administration, saying the program should continue.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Thursday the program will now resume on or around December 6, as per court order.
“DHS will be ready to reimplement MPP once the Government of Mexico makes a final and independent decision to accept the return of individuals enrolled in the program, subject to certain humanitarian improvements,” the department said.
Mexico on Thursday said it will, in fact, not send Central Americans awaiting asylum court dates in the US back to their countries.
“Mexico has decided, for humanitarian reasons and temporarily, that it will not return to their countries certain migrants who have an appointment with a US immigration judge to request asylum,” the foreign ministry said.
Even as the US moved to restore the MPP policy, the White House criticized it.
“The President continues to believe that MPP has endemic flaws, imposed unjustifiable human costs, pulled resources and personnel away from other priority efforts. That’s why we ended the program,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
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