The Biden administration has announced that they will be allowing migrants into the US who have been forced to remain in Mexico while their asylum cases are processed due to a Trump-era policy. This is a part of the administration’s greater efforts to overhaul the immigration system.
The Department of Homeland Security is projected to begin the first phase of this new program next Friday, when they will start gradually letting in migrants who have active cases under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. Biden is hoping that this is the first step in undoing former president Donald Trump’s hateful immigration legacy.
Biden is also looking to end the Migrant Protection Protocols program, which has also forced asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while they wait for US court proceedings. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently delivered a statement regarding this revision in immigration policy in America.
“This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation’s values.”
“The administration’s latest step does not mean the border would be open to all migrants, however, because changes will take time. Individuals who are not eligible under this initial phase should wait for further instructions and not travel to the border. Due to the current pandemic, restrictions at the border remain in place and will be enforced,” Mayorkas warned.
There are currently around 25,000 migrants with active cases under MPP, and under the new program those who have been waiting in the program the longest and/or those in the most vulnerable populations will be processed to come to the US first. The Biden Administration is planning on working with the Mexican government, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations in Mexico as well to help better identify eligible migrants who want to come to the US and begin transporting them into the country to process their cases.
The Mexican government and Biden Administration have warned migrants with active cases not to go to any US port of entry until they receive proper guidance. According to the administration those in the first phase will be processed in three ports of entry, and officials believe that once they have these ports fully up and operational they’ll be able to process up to 300 people per day.
Migrants who are processed through this new program will be tested for Covid-19 before entering into the US and once they’re here they will be enrolled in what the administration is calling an “alternative to detention program” that will help track them and their specific cases so that they can be routed to the appropriate court. Being routed to the right court is essential for migrant cases because it determines where they will settle in the country.
President Joe Biden has vowed throughout his campaign that he would be ending the program that is keeping so many asylum seekers in dangerous living conditions. Due to Trump-era policies there are currently tens of thousands of asylum seekers being forced to stay in Mexico, often in poor living conditions. Last week Biden signed an executive order that gave Mayorkas the task of reviewing the program for potential termination.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.