USCRI’s Statement on the Resumption of the Remain in Mexico Program

By USCRI October 15, 2021

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) expresses disappointment at the Biden administration’s announcement that it will be resuming the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the Remain in Mexico program, by mid-November. USCRI urges the administration to draft a new memorandum terminating the program before mid-November, following the guidelines and requirements set by the judge in Texas v. Biden.

MPP was implemented under the Trump administration in response to an increase in asylum seekers at the southern border. The program forces asylum seekers, both from Mexico and from other countries, to stay in Mexico while their asylum cases are pending in U.S. immigration courts. This policy has meant that asylum seekers have to stay in makeshift camps on the U.S.-Mexico border, where they face lack of adequate shelter, food, and access to medical care. They are also highly vulnerable and many have been subjected to gang violence, rapes, and kidnappings. In fact, in the first year of the program, Human Rights First documented over 800 incidents of murder, torture, rape, and other violent attacks against asylum seekers in MPP. Not only were the conditions in Mexico extremely dangerous for these asylum seekers, but living in Mexico made it extremely difficult to find legal counsel and attend their immigration hearings in the United States. As a result, in the first year, only .1% of asylum seekers in MPP were granted asylum.

A court order issued in Texas v. Biden in August requires the Biden administration to continue implementing MPP “until such a time as it has been lawfully rescinded” according to Administrative Procedure Act rules. While the judge’s ruling ignored substantial evidence of the administration’s justification for ending the program, the administration can still end MPP, and it must seize the chance by issuing a new memorandum addressing the judge’s criticisms and justifying the program’s termination as soon as possible. The administration has an obligation to uphold the human rights of asylum seekers, and must ensure that it does not contribute to their harm by doing everything in its power to end MPP.


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