NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
The Trump administration established the “Stay in Mexico” policy in January 2019 – a policy that has become one of the central elements of the administration’s efforts to combat the ongoing crisis on the southern border.
The policy, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, involves migrants arriving at the southern border and seeking asylum. They are sent back to Mexico to await their hearings instead of being allowed to enter the United States.
INSIDE TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION TENTS: CONTROVERSIAL SYSTEM DESIGNED TO ACCELERATE ASYLUM BACKGROUND
The policy has seen tent courtrooms set up in places such as Laredo and Brownsville, Texas, where migrants could have their cases heard as the policy was expanded this summer as part of increased cooperation with Mexico.
In doing so, administration officials say it helped end the practice of “capture and release” and also helped end a pull factor that drew migrants north. Officials say it also dramatically reduces processing times, processing cases in months rather than years.
“The importance of the MPP cannot be stressed enough. This is what allowed us to master the crisis that we experienced in April and May. The idea is to make sure we process individuals in a timely manner, but make sure they’re waiting south of the border,” Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said.
SUPREME COURT GIVES TRUMP VICTORY BY ALLOWING ‘STAY IN MEXICO’ POLICY TO CONTINUE
But opponents say it sends migrants to dangerous areas in Mexico, where they face violence and kidnappings. Leading Democratic presidential candidates have vowed to end politics if elected. The group Human Rights First called the courts “secret” and described them as part of an “attack” on the rule of law within a “fictitious” asylum system.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently blocked the policy, but suspended its decision until the Supreme Court could intervene. The 9th Circuit panel accepted the claim that “non-Mexicans returned to Mexico under the MPP risk substantial harm, even death, while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims.”
The Supreme Court awarded the administration a significant victory when it said it would allow the administration to enforce the policy while litigation continues.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The expansion of the MPP has coincided with dramatic results at the border, including a more than 70% decrease in apprehensions since the highs in May last year. It has been combined with a series of regional agreements on migration with countries south of the border.
About 60,000 people have been returned to Mexico since the policy was introduced. DHS estimates suggest that a significant number of people eventually dropped their cases and returned home.