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Biden officials plan to bring back the "Remain in Mexico" policy.

Biden to bring back Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy next week

Dec 02, 2021


Biden administration officials announced Thursday the United States has reached a deal with Mexico to bring back the Trump-Era “Remain in Mexico” policy next week. The policy forces asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico as they wait for their hearing in U.S. immigration court.

Starting next Monday, migrants are expected to start returning to Mexico through the San Diego crossing in California, as well as the El Paso, Laredo and Brownsville crossings in Texas. According to officials, Migrants with cases in Laredo and Brownsville will be placed in shelters further away from the U.S.-Mexico border to avoid security risks in Mexican border cities.

The Biden administration iteration of the “Remain in Mexico” policy includes major additions and changes that Mexico demanded during weeks of negotiations. First and foremost, all migrants subject to the policy will be vaccinated against COVID-19. Adults will get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and children who are eligible to get the Pfizer vaccine will get their first dose now, and the second at their immigration court hearing.

In addition, the U.S. will try to complete cases within 180 days. The Justice Department is assigning 22 immigration judges to work on these cases exclusively. U.S. officials haven’t said how many migrants will be processed daily.

Not all migrants are eligible for the Biden version of the “Remain in Mexico” policy. According to officials, “vulnerable” people should be exempt. This includes:

  • Unaccompanied children
  • Pregnant women
  • Physically or mentally ill people
  • Older people
  • Indigenous people
  • Members of the LGBTQ community

Former President Trump introduced the “Remain in Mexico” policy in early 2019. Since then, about 70,000 asylum-seekers have been subject to the policy.

Biden suspended the policy on his first day in office. However, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ordered the policy be reinstated, subject to Mexico’s participation, back in August. Kacsmaryk ruled that Biden did not follow proper procedure in scrapping the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

The Biden administration is still actively trying to end the MPP program, issuing a new rescission memo in the hopes it will resolve the court’s legal concerns.

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