President Biden is reversing former President Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Friday it would begin to process migrants placed in the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) next week. MPP, known as “Remain in Mexico” was a policy implemented and expanded in 2019 that kept migrants in Mexico as they awaited their immigration hearing.
The Biden administration estimates that around 25,000 individuals enrolled in the protocols still have active cases.
“As President Biden has made clear, the U.S. government is committed to rebuilding a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation’s values.”
Republicans slam Biden move
Republicans have been horrified by a wave of reversals of Trump-era policies by the new administration — including the halting of the border wall and attempts to implement a 100-day pause on deportations — and have pointed to early signs of a brewing border crisis.
Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, said that the move was “outrageous” at a time when Americans were being told to avoid travel and stay at home — before predicting a surge in numbers at the border.
“Those being re-processed south of our border by international organizations, who will determine their eligibility, will soon be released into U.S. communities as they get added to the 1,000,000+ immigration court backlog. Adjudication will take years,” he said. “As more migrants catch wind of the reimplementation of ‘catch-and-release,’ the surge on our border will be unimaginable.”
“As CBP encounters at the border top 3,000 a day on average, we have swiftly moved into the dangerous territory of the 2019 border crisis,” he said. “The situation at the border, combined with the raging pandemic, has created a perfect storm of security, humanitarian, and public health concerns.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Friday said that the U.S. has a “humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”
“Effectively returning to catch and release — as the Biden administration announced today — could very well result in the release of COVID positive persons into the U.S., which will exacerbate the dual border and public health crises by making Texas border communities less safe and further straining local resources,” he said.