U.S. to restart Trump-era border program
The U.S. will restart a controversial border program that forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for U.S. immigration hearings.U.S. and Mexican officials on Thursday said the program would resume, following a judge’s order that the program, called the Migrant Protection Protocols, was improperly shut down by U.S. President Joe Biden.Biden ended the policy soon after his inauguration in January. “I’m going to be sign orders a full review of the previous administration’s harmful and counterproductive immigration policies basically across the board.”But a federal judge ruled Biden’s rescission did not follow proper procedure and in August ordered the policy’s reinstatement. Restarting MPP is a setback for Biden, a Democrat, who has tried in his first year in office to reverse many hardline immigration policies put in place by his Republican predecessor Donald Trump.MPP left many Central American asylum seekers stranded in squalid encampments along the U.S.-Mexico border, many of them in areas plagued by gang violence. The policy was a cornerstone of Trump’s immigration crackdown. Officials told reporters on Thursday the U.S. would take steps to address Mexico’s humanitarian concerns, including offering COVID-19 vaccines to returning migrants, and exempting more categories of people deemed vulnerable. The reinstatement of MPP adds to a confusing mix of immigration policies in place at the southern border, where arrests reached a record 1.7 million in the 2021 fiscal year, which ended in September.It’s a problem that has confounded the Biden administration. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who oversees borders and immigration, last month pressed lawmakers to act.”We must invest in addressing root causes, creating legal pathways and ensuring swift adjudication of asylum claims. The immigration system though is fundamentally broken. A fact everyone agrees upon. Congress must pass legislation to fix it.”One U.S. official said the MPP program will restart on Monday.At the same time, 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.