Biden Forced To Keep Trump-Era ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy in Place

Lead Photo: Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images.
Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images.
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President Joe Biden and his administration are preparing to restart an immigration policy first enacted by former President Donald Trump. The policy, known as Migrant Protection Protocols (MMP), returns migrants to Mexico while they await word on their asylum requests from the United States. The policy is commonly referred to as “Remain in Mexico” and is likely to come back in mid-November.

“Remain in Mexico” was one of the first policies that President Biden rescinded upon entering office earlier this year. While the policy was enacted, tens of thousands of migrants waited in tents near the border, many being the victims of crimes. That got the attention of human rights groups after hundreds of rapes, kidnappings, and assaults were documented.

Republican-controlled Texas and Missouri sued the Biden Administration in April. At issue, the thousands of migrants that flooded the American border. The argument was that most migrants know that while most asylum claims are rejected, most are allowed to wait in the United States while their cases are heard. 

In August, a federal judge in Texas ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the policy. Biden fought the order but lost in the federal appeals court and the Supreme Court, forcing Biden to comply with the court’s ruling in August, putting the policy back in place. The Supreme Court placed a deadline on the Biden Administration last Thursday to inform the court of their plans to comply.

An updated plan is being touted from the Biden administration. Under the revision, immigrants would get court dates within six months. 

The United States will need the help and cooperation of Mexico to reinstate the policy. In a court filing last week, the administration said that “although MPP is not yet operational,” they are taking all the steps necessary to re-implement it by next month.

That includes adding housing and prepping courts near the border where hearings could take place. According to the administration, it could cost over $14 million to build, over $10 million to run each month, and about a month to build the infrastructure. 

It’s important to note that Biden has also ok’d borders to be opened to fully vaccinated travelers on the Mexican and Canadian side next month. The borders have been shut down to all nonessential travel since March of 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic.

Mexico has also expressed its concern over this policy, known as Title 42, which the foreign ministry said incentivizes repeat crossings and puts migrants at risk.

In a win for Mexico on a separate front, the United States said this week it would lift restrictions at its legal ports of entry for fully vaccinated foreign nationals in early November, ending curbs on nonessential travelers during the pandemic.