US prepares to resume Trump-era asylum policy
President Joe Biden’s administration is taking steps to restart by mid-November a programme begun under his predecessor Donald Trump that forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for US court hearings after a federal court deemed the termination of the program unjustified, US officials said Thursday.
The administration, however, is planning to make another attempt to rescind the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly called the “Remain in Mexico” policy, even as it takes steps to comply with the August ruling by Texas-based US District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, the officials said.
The possible reinstatement of MPP — even on a short-term basis — would add to a confusing mix of US policies in place at the Mexican border, where crossings into the United States have reached 20-year-highs in recent months. The administration said it can only move forward if Mexico agrees. Officials from both countries said they are discussing the matter.
Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday that it has expressed a “number of concerns” over MPP to US officials, particularly around due process, legal certainty, access to legal aid and the safety of migrants.
Mr Trump, a Republican known for hardline immigration policies, created the MPP policy in 2019, arguing that many asylum claims were fraudulent and applicants allowed into the United States might end up staying illegally if they skipped court hearings. Mr Biden, a Democrat, ended the policy soon after taking office in January as part of his pledge to take a more humane approach to border issues. Mr Biden in March said that “I make no apology” for ending MPP.