Biden eyes plan to replace Trump’s ‘remain in Mexico’ policy
President Biden is weighing a plan that would allow migrants waiting at the Mexican border to enter the U.S. to apply for asylum, a first step to ending former President Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy.
Trump’s policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), forced migrants attempting to cross the southern border to apply for asylum in Mexico regardless of their country of origin, swelling the number of people camped at the border.
Documents obtained by BuzzFeed News show the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would allow some of those waiting to enter the U.S. at three different ports of entry.
Migrants would initially be held in a “staging area” in Mexico where they would receive a health screening and could enter the U.S. only after testing negative for COVID-19.
After entering the U.S., immigrants would be taken to local shelters and would need to coordinate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in order to avoid detention but may be subject to ankle bracelets.
DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump implemented the remain in Mexico policy in 2019, forcing immigrants fleeing dangerous situations to stay in Mexico while awaiting court hearings in the U.S. Under the policy, the government removed more than 60,000 migrants to the Mexican border.
Biden’s new policy, which is expected to be officially rolled out in the coming weeks, follows an executive order signed earlier this month tasking DHS with designing a plan to replace MPP.
“The situation at the border will not transform overnight, due in large part to the damage done over the last four years,” the administration said in a fact sheet announcing the order.
“But the President is committed to an approach that keeps our country safe, strong, and prosperous and that also aligns with our values,” it added.
The Supreme Court also granted the administration’s request to cancel an upcoming hearing on the remain in Mexico policy while the White House weighs a replacement.
House Republicans pushed back at Biden’s immigration plans with a Thursday letter to the White House.
“Following your decision to back down from our previous security posture, we are seeing worrying trends similar to those that led to the 2019 Border Crisis. This time, the situation is made worse by the ongoing global pandemic, increasing humanitarian and public health risks,” GOP lawmakers on the House Homeland Security Committee wrote, adding that the White House is sending “the signal that our borders are open.”
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