Why Trump’s ‘Stay in Mexico’ Policy Must End


Last fall, the Department of Homeland Security posted a note announcing the decision to terminate Migrant protection protocols. These protocols, established in early 2019 by former President Donald Trump, are better known collectively as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Essentially, this forced non-Mexican migrants wishing to enter the United States to remain in Mexico until their court date.

This is consistent with Trump anti-immigrant platform– the one he praised during his candidacy for the presidency and whom he embraced wholeheartedly once in the office. He signed executive orders strengthening border security and worked to actively undermine asylum, push more people into deportation proceedings and ban individuals from Muslim-majority countries. The MPP is part of a long list of elements implemented by Trump to target and harm immigrants in the United States.

By contrast, early in his presidency, President Joe Biden officially terminated the MPP program (Even though he continued quietly some other Trump-era anti-immigrant policies). This decision was a response to pressure from immigrant advocacy groups.

However, on August 13, 2021, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas found at Texas vs. Biden that the current administration violated federal law due to a technicality based on a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The judge, appointed by Trump, ordered the reinstatement of the program.

Now the Biden administration is trying to shut down that horrible bill for the second time. In late October, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas write a note recommending the end of the program on the basis of the “substantial and unjustifiable human costs” for migrants forced to remain in Mexico.

The MPP is a violation of humanitarian rights

Mayorkas is right. The human rights violations stemming from the MPP are well documented. It is dangerous to make vulnerable people, who have already endured immense hardship, wait for the protection of asylum. The program began in January 2019, and in the two years it has been in effect, nearly 70,000 people were left in precarious situations while their cases were pending. Of these 70,000 immigrants, including 16,000 children and 500 infants, nearly 2,000 were victims of documented kidnapping, torture, rape and murder. These numbers are most likely underestimated and we may never know how many actual violations have taken place.

Moreover, these immigrants rarely have access humanitarian aid or health services, and they risk being deported to the dangerous country they have just fled. The main nationalities of asylum seekers include Honduran, Guatemalan, Cuban, Salvadoran and Ecuadorian. Many of these northern Central American countries are among the most dangerous in the world. Roughly 900,000 people only in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have fled to neighboring countries or been internally displaced, and not a day goes by without another headline story about poverty , starvation and gang violence faced by people in these countries. Most of these individuals and families are probably out of options.

Migrant women face additional pressures to flee. Many women leaving this region are fleeing gender-based violence – El Salvador and Honduras share the same fate as Latin America highest rates of femicideor the sexist killings of women and girls over the age of 15.

The pandemic only exacerbated these serious humanitarian rights issues via confinements, allowing gangs to exercise control on food and medicine and to target people more easily. Additionally, many people have lost their livelihoods due to the economic impact of the pandemic and faced health challenges due to limited access to resources. Now is the time to eliminate migration protection protocols.

Immigration has a positive effect on the economy

Along with the argument of moral and ethical obligations, immigration helps fuel the US economy – a fact that Republicans continue to dispute. Many conservatives claim that immigrants are a drain on resources, but numerous studies show that this is not true.

For example, the George W. Bush Institute (created by and named after a Republican president) points out that when immigrants enter the workforce, increases productivity of the economy and increases the gross domestic product of the country. This is called an “immigration surplus”. One reason is that these workers are much more likely to work in industries where native Americans choose not to work, such as housekeeping or catering. In fact, native-born Americans can choose to remain unemployed rather than working in a repetitive low-wage job, but it’s a huge drag on economic growth to have bottlenecks or shortages in those areas.

Additionally, Republicans continue to claim that the MPP has stemmed undocumented migration, but that is simply not true. In reality, illegal immigration is at an all time low, unrelated to the implementation of Trump’s policy. In 2016, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States fell to its lowest level since 2004, long before Trump authorized the MPP in 2019.

The MPP must be reversed

Things are a bit confusing right now when it comes to migration protection protocols. In December 2021, the Biden administration was forced to restore the MPP in accordance with the Texas vs. Biden decision. However, later that month, President Biden asked the Supreme Court to allow the administration to terminate the program. At the same time, confusingly, it looks like Biden is also expansion the program he hopes to complete. As a result, thousands of people remain in limbo and face grave danger.

experts say the Supreme Court is unlikely to rule on the MPP until the end of June, leaving thousands of vulnerable people at risk. Meanwhile – in another move in this history of contradictions – the Biden administration has worked to make the program more humanincluding increasing legal representation for asylum seekers, sending US aid workers to alleviate conditions at the border, and allowing MPP members access to port-of-entry transportation services.

Amid all this back and forth, one thing is clear: the MPP must be abolished. He is critical for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of Biden’s call to end the program. The request must be forwarded to the justice system as quickly as possible, and the highest court in our country must act with humanitarian standards in mind, understanding the impact of this program on human lives and on the economy. . It is time to end MPP politics, once and for all.

Annika Olson

is associate director of policy research for the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis (IUPRA) at UT Austin. She earned a dual master’s degree in psychology and public policy from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Commonwealth Honors College at UMass Amherst. Annika was previously an AmeriCorps member working with at-risk youth in rural New Mexico and Austin, Texas. She can be reached via her email: [email protected]Twitter and LinkedIn.


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