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Biden Administration Announces Next Phase in Wind Down of Remain in Mexico

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Biden administration announced today that it is moving to the next phase in the wind down of the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP) policy, also known as Remain in Mexico.

Under this policy, people seeking asylum were forced to wait in Mexico, where many individuals were kidnapped by cartels and left in unsafe conditions, preventing some from being able to appear for their court date. Following today’s announcement, individuals placed in MPP who had their cases terminated or who were ordered removed after missing court will have an opportunity to enroll in the wind-down process and be processed into the United States to continue with their immigration cases.

In response, Ursela Ojeda, policy advisor for the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, released the following statement:

“With today’s announcement, the Biden administration has taken a welcome and necessary step to fully ending the awful and illegal Trump-era policy that put vulnerable people seeking protection at risk and denied them due process.

“Under MPP, individuals and families were sent back to extremely dangerous border towns in Mexico. Due to pervasive kidnappings, rape, torture, and other violent attacks, people in the program missed their hearings. Countless others could not attend their hearings because they received inaccurate paperwork issued by the U.S. government, because they couldn’t afford to travel hundreds of miles between where they were returned to in Mexico and where they were expected to enter the U.S. to go to court, or because they were blocked at a port of entry by border officials from entering the country to go to their hearing.

“Thousands of families and individuals who were subjected to MPP can now breathe a sigh of relief as they are finally allowed to enter the United States and safely seek safety. Still, today’s announcement leaves out thousands of other vulnerable individuals, including those who were denied protection under MPP or who were forced to cross between ports of entry into the U.S. to seek safety after being returned to danger by the prior administration.

“MPP was a shameful, inhumane, and unlawful policy that created a process so stacked against asylum seekers that the only fair way for the Biden administration to unwind it is to give everyone subjected to it a fair opportunity to pursue their claims safely from within the United States. We welcome today’s announcement about additional steps to wind down MPP.

“We call on the Biden administration to continue expanding access to protection and ensure that every last person subjected to MPP is afforded an opportunity to enter the United States and apply for asylum in safety. We further call on the administration to stop blocking and expelling people seeking protection at the border under the false pretense of protecting public health, and to immediately and fully restore access to asylum.”