Biden admin. to restart 'Remain in Mexico' policy after court order; vows to continue legal fight

Texas, border crisis
A Texas State Trooper gestures near a group of illegal immigrants, many from Haiti, next to the Rio Grande near the Del Rio-Acuna Port of Entry in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 18, 2021. - The United States said on Sept. 18 that it would ramp up deportation flights for thousands of illegal immigrants who flooded into the Texas border city of Del Rio, as authorities scramble to alleviate a burgeoning crisis under President Joe Biden’s administration. The illegal immigrants who poured into the city, many of them Haitian, were being held in an area controlled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection beneath the Del Rio International Bridge, which carries traffic across the Rio Grande River into Mexico. |

The Biden administration is re-implementing a Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy following a court order and cooperation from the Mexican government.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that it was “closely coordinating” with the government of Mexico to restart the Migrant Protection Protocols.

The policy, instituted initially under former President Donald Trump in 2019, required those seeking asylum in the U.S. to remain in Mexico while their asylum claims are adjudicated. After conducting a review of the program, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had halted the Migrant Protection Protocols on June 1, 2021.

Robert Silvers, undersecretary for DHS’ Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans issued a memorandum to U.S. immigration agencies Thursday.

A surge of border crossings followed the temporary suspension of MPP, which led to the attorneys general of several states, led by Texas and Missouri, asking a federal court to force the administration to restart the Migrant Protection Protocols.

In August, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas concluded that the reversal of the policy ran afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act. Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, enjoined “the termination of MPP” and ordered DHS to “enforce and implement MPPin good faith.”

“DHS is working with the Department of State and [the Government of Mexico] to provide safe transport to and from certain locations in Mexico to U.S. ports of entry to attend court hearings and to facilitate access to safe and secure shelters in Mexico,” the department noted. “DHS will begin the court-mandated reimplementation in one location on December 6, and quickly expanding across the Southwest Border based on discussions with the GOM to address security concerns and operational constraints.”

In a separate statement, the department reported that “Once fully operational, MPP enrollments will take place across the Southwest Border, and returns to Mexico will take place at seven ports of entry in San Diego, Calexico, Nogales, El Paso, Eagle Pass, Laredo, and Brownsville.”

While DHS will implement the Migrant Protection Protocols to comply with the court order, the department vowed to “vigorously contest the ruling.”

“Once the court injunction is lifted, MPP will be terminated,” the statement added, stressing that “Mayorkas has repeatedly stated that MPP has endemic flaws, imposed unjustifiable human costs, pulled resources and personnel away from other priority efforts, and failed to address the root causes of irregular migration.”

Statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Protection show that the fiscal year 2021, which concluded at the end of September, saw a record 1.7 million border crossings that marked an astronomical increase from the 458,088 recorded in the fiscal year 2020.

The monthly encounters between border crossers and immigration officials have remained above 100,000 since February 2021, the first full month of the Biden administration, and reached a record high of 213,593 in July 2021.

Following several months marked by a continuous increase, illegal border crossings have declined in recent months. The most recent available statistics show 164,303 encounters in October 2021.

Earlier this year, crowded conditions at border detention facilities created the image of a humanitarian crisis. Images and video footage of thousands of migrants camped out under a bridge in the border town of Del Rio, Texas, received national attention.

President Joe Biden’s approval rating on the issue of immigration has been far lower than his overall approval rating.

According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls taken in November, 28% of Americans approved of Biden’s job performance on immigration. At the same time, nearly 60% of Americans disapprove of his job performance on the issue.

Polling shows that Americans give Biden lower marks on immigration than any other issue facing the country, including the economy, foreign policy and the coronavirus. The RealClearPolitics average of polls taken over the past three weeks shows 42.3% of Americans approving of the president’s overall job performance while 52.2% disapprove.

Republicans have slammed the Biden administration’s handling of immigration, with former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley characterizing the response of the administration’s designated border czar, Vice President Kamala Harris, as “embarrassing.” 

Trump, who made immigration a central aspect of his 2016 presidential campaign and his time in office, criticized the Biden administration’s immigration policy in a speech in front of an unfinished portion of the border wall in Texas over the summer. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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