By Ankita Joshi
WASHINGTON D.C. – President Biden has announced that the Trump Era Migrant Protocol Protections will be reinstated, just 11 months after he suspended those same migrant rules.
In December 2018, the Trump Administration had announced the creation of the Migrant Protocol Protections Program, which took effect in 2019, and was used to send approximately 70,000 migrants back to Mexico.
MPP allows US authorities to send back asylum seekers who do not have the proper documentation back to Mexico until their immigration proceedings are completed.
However, on Feb. 2, 2021, just after taking office, President Biden issued an executive order to suspend the program.
In the following months, lawsuits from Texas and Missouri challenged the legality of MPP’s suspension. In August, the US District Court of the Northern Texas District Court ruled in favor of the states, preventing the Biden Administration from terminating MPP.
The Supreme Court and the Fifth District Court have also refused to block the order.
As a result, the Biden Administration has moved to begin the reimplementation of MPP with some modifications, including interviews of migrants at the border to determine whether they have a “reasonable danger” of returning to Mexico, consultation with a lawyer before their interview, providing safe transport, etc.
The reimplementation of MPP holds very serious implications for the well-being of many asylum seekers in the U.S., explains the ACLU.
In a statement, Judy Rabinovitz, special counsel with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, has challenged the reimplementation, noting, “The reimplementation of this illegal and cruel policy will inflict on thousands of additional people seeking asylum the same harms that were well documented under its previous implantation: horrific abuse, including torture, rape, and death; and the denial of any meaningful opportunity to obtain asylum.”
She continued by noting that MPP was a “humanitarian catastrophe” whose main purpose was “to deter people from seeking asylum by trapping them in miserable and dangerous conditions.”
In terms of the modifications, Rabinovitz remarked that “tinkering around the edges will not lead to fundamentally different results,” referring to the abuse many asylum seekers did face during MPP.
Rabinovitz noted a statement made by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas where he had acknowledged that “MPP is inherently flawed and cannot be fixed, and that its human costs are substantial and unjustifiable.”
“Although the Biden administration may claim it has no choice but to restart MPP, there is no question that it has a choice to end Title 42, which causes many of the same harms, and yet it has chosen to continue and even double down on that cruel and unlawful policy that turns people away at the border under the guise of public health. It is imperative that that administration do everything within its power to bring both policies to a complete end,” said Rabinovitz.
Many other human rights organizations and activists have challenged the decision made by the Biden Administration, and are criticizing the implications within Biden’s iteration of the program.