DHS expands 'Remain in Mexico' policy to Brazilian citizens 

DHS expands 'Remain in Mexico' policy to Brazilian citizens 
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Wednesday that it is expanding Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) to Brazilian nationals seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The policy, colloquially referred to as the “remain in Mexico” initiative, requires migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to await their court dates on the Mexican side of the border. Mexican authorities using U.S. resources began offering housing for migrants in December, though immigrant rights groups have said that conditions are subpar.

The announcement comes almost exactly a year after DHS first enacted MPP in January 2019.

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According to DHS, the number of Brazilian migrants reaching the border has nearly tripled in the past year. 

“The United States continues to work with its partners in the region, as well as other countries, to stem the flow of irregular migration to the United States,” DHS said in a statement. “MPP is one of many tools the Department has implemented to ensure those with meritorious asylum claims are timely adjudicated, while fraudulent claims are properly identified.”

Before MPP, those seeking asylum were held in detention centers until they were eventually released within the U.S. to await their court date, which is often months or even years later.

In Mexico, asylum-seekers wait in tents set up by the port of entry until their court date. Volunteers — and often politicians — provide meals and toiletries for them. The situation leaves them vulnerable to cartel violence, particularly for those who don’t speak Spanish, such as Indigenous migrants, and now, Brazilians. 

"#RemainInMexico is a dangerous & sometimes deadly policy," the Congressional Hispanic Caucus tweeted Wednesday. "Expanding this program to Brazilian asylum-seekers will be devastating, as these families do not speak Spanish & will be even more vulnerable in Mexico. #DontLookAway from the suffering inflicted by Trump at our border."

Updated Jan 30 at 2:13 p.m.