DHS no longer requiring asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico

Immigration

A family that earlier in the morning crossed from Mexico to the U.S. through a gap in the border wall in Yuma, Arizona, is stopped by border patrol in February 2022.

(NewsNation) ⁠— The Department of Homeland Security will no longer enforce a Trump-era policy that required asylum seekers at the Southwest border to remain in Mexico while their cases are pending.

The Supreme Court initially issued a ruling on June 30 holding that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had the discretion to end the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP), sometimes informally referenced as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

Until it was formally lifted, a nationwide injunction allowed the protocols to be used “in good faith.”

The Northern District of Texas lifted that injunction Monday and as a result, DHS is no longer enrolling new people into the program.

“DHS is committed to ending the court-ordered implementation of MPP in a quick, and orderly, manner,” the agency said in a news release.

Asylum-seekers are unable or unwilling to return to their country out of fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, according to the DHS.

Those who are currently enrolled in Mexico will be allowed to remain in the U.S. when they appear for their next scheduled court date, according to the DHS news release.

Under the Migration Protection Protocols, people encountered at the Southwest Border without U.S. citizenship were required to await their removal proceedings in Mexico rather than the U.S.

More than 9,600 non-U.S. citizens were enrolled in the program between Dec. 6, 2021, and June 30, 2022, according to the DHS. Of those, 5,755 people were returned to Mexico following their initial enrollment, according to a July DHS report.

People from Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ecuador accounted for the most enrollments to date, according to the DHS.

The DHS secretary claimed the MPP “has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border.”

DHS will continue to enforce other immigration and public health laws, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 order. The public health policy was enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic and allows Customs and Border Patrol agents to turn away migrants for public health reasons.

“Individuals encountered at the Southwest Border who cannot establish a legal basis to remain in the United States will be removed or expelled,” the DHS release stated.

The scope of Title 42 went much further than the Migration Protection Protocols program.

About 70,000 people were enrolled in the Migration Protection Protocols program after former President Donald Trump launched it in 2019. Meanwhile, there were 1.8 million expulsions out of the U.S under Title 42 as of May, according to the American Immigration Council.

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