Return of “Stay in Mexico” Policy Called Unnecessary and Cruel – Baptist News Global

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Biden administration faces heavy criticism for resurrecting a Trump-era immigration policy that forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their court cases unfold in the United States.

After being sued by the states of Texas and Missouri, President Joe Biden restarted migrant protection protocols on December 6. His Jan. 20 cancellation of the policy — also known as the Remain in Mexico program — was ruled improper by a Texas federal judge. in August.

Refugee advocates have complained that the White House has not done enough to counter the court’s ruling that appeared to rely on a legal technicality to demand reinstatement of the controversial policy created by the Trump administration in 2019.

Ursela Ojeda

“This administration says it’s in a battle for the soul of America – that’s also true on the border. The way the administration chooses to face this moment – that is, the how she chooses to respond to the arrival of families and people seeking safety in our country – will define her legacy,” said Ursela Ojeda, Senior Policy Advisor at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

Ojeda begged the president to choose humanity and due process over cruelty and deterrence. “We urge in the strongest possible terms the administration to change course and not continue and expand the harmful policies of its predecessor. It must focus on restoring access to a safe asylum process, just and humane, which welcomes with dignity rather than blocking, expelling or harming those seeking safety.

During Trump’s presidency, the policy targeted immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries. Biden expanded the program to include Haitians and other asylum seekers.

“The Biden administration has made a deliberate choice to expand the Stay in Mexico program to apply to nationals of any Western Hemisphere country, including nationals of Haiti, Jamaica and Brazil. , among others – although they know that black asylum seekers are particularly at risk. of violence in Mexican border areas,” said Karen Tumlin, Founder and Director of the Justice Action Center.

Karen Tumlin

Tumlin also denounced the administration’s continued use of Title 42, a previously obscure federal health code provision invoked by the Trump administration to further limit immigration during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The courts did not impose this. It’s anti-darkness. For the first time, we will see the combined effect of a Title 42 and Remain in Mexico policy,” Tumlin added. “The result is a total asylum shutdown under a president who is committed to ending the MPP and restoring a welcoming asylum system.”

Before Remain in Mexico went into effect, asylum seekers entering the United States were permitted, under federal law and an international treaty, to remain in the country while their eligibility for protection legal was determined by a court.

But since the protocols were enacted in 2019, the American Immigration Council said nearly 70,000 migrants have been returned to Mexico, exposing many of them to poverty and harsh living conditions in refugee camps in Mexico. fortune, as well as extortion and violence from drug cartels.

The board also reports that well under 10% of refugees subject to protocols through the end of 2020 were able to obtain representation for US court hearings.

“The data suggests that only 7.5% of people subject to the MPP have already successfully hired a lawyer, although the true rate of representation may be even lower as this number includes people who were initially placed in the MPP and then later removed from the program and allowed to enter the United States,” its report said.

As a result, few of the migrants returned to Mexico under the program found refuge in the United States.

“As of December 2020, of the 42,012 MPP cases that had been settled, only 521 people had obtained relief in immigration court.”

“The lack of a lawyer, combined with the danger and insecurity faced by individuals in border towns, has made it nearly impossible for anyone subject to the MPP to successfully obtain asylum,” the report explains. “As of December 2020, of the 42,012 MPP cases that had been settled, only 521 people had obtained relief in immigration court.”

The Department of Homeland Security announced on December 2 that Mexico had agreed to receive migrants returned from the United States and that returns would take place at seven ports of entry, including the Texas cities of El Paso, Laredo and Brownsville and San Diego, California.

“The U.S. government will work closely with the government of Mexico to ensure that there are safe and secure shelters available for those registered with the MPP; that MPP returnees receive safe transportation to and from US ports of entry; and that MPP enrollees can apply for work permits, health care and other services in Mexico,” DHS officials said. said.

Bishop Mark Seitz in 2019 at the border wall.

But even the federal statement acknowledged the dangers of the protocols: “Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas has repeatedly said that the MPP has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, takes away resources and personnel other priority efforts and failed to resolve the issue. root causes of irregular migration.

Immigration advocates, including Catholic Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, have not been appeased by the Mexico deal.

“The so-called migrant protection protocols are a multi-layered lie that unfortunately carries over from the Trump administration to the Biden administration. This is a blatant example of government doublespeak and obfuscation of the truth,” Seitz said in a statement released by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.

“This is a blatant example of government doublespeak and obfuscation of the truth.”

Seitz, who is vice chairman of CLINIC’s board of directors, added that the policy is not only ruthless but also illegal because it denies access to the United States during the asylum process.

“The name itself is a lie. It has nothing to do with the protection of migrants and it puts families in dangerous situations within communities that already suffer from a lack of resources,” he said.

Anna Gallagher

CLINIC executive director Anna Gallagher said the implementation of the MPP “is a stain on our nation. It is a dangerous and deadly policy. As happened during its previous implementation, vulnerable men, women and children will face denigration, disrespect, assault, rape and murder. It is inhumane, unjust and violates our obligations under our own legal system and international refugee law.

She also called on Biden to filter immigration policy through his faith. “Mr. President, we implore you to follow the Catholic values ​​that form the foundation of your public leadership throughout our country. It is time to build on those values ​​and put the lives of men first. , suffering women and children waiting at our border before politics. It is time you did what is humane and stop the MPP.

Civil rights groups, including the ACLU pretend there is a way for the Biden administration to end Remain in Mexico once and for all – despite legal challenges – and are appalled that these steps are not being taken.

Related Articles:

Why all the hype about the “Stay in Mexico” immigration policy? | Analysis by Elket Rodriguez

Immigration advocates furious with Biden administration over stay-in-Mexico policy

Immigration advocates applaud official end to ‘stay in Mexico’ policy

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