The Next U.S. President Must Keep the Asylum Agreements with Mexico and the Northern Triangle

As the United States experiences a surge of apprehensions on our Southern border, Americans should be asking what the next presidential administration will do to slow the flow of unlawful  migrants into our country. With nearly 70,000 migrants apprehended at the Southwest border in October – the highest monthly total for that month in 15 years – there is an urgent need to stop illegal immigration.

While Joe Biden will face enormous pressure from the far left-wing of his party to make good on their radical immigration agenda, a few particular policies must remain in place to reduce illegal immigration and meritless asylum claims.

The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as ‘Remain in Mexico,’ requires that migrants applying for asylum to the United States wait in Mexico as their claim is processed. Before the MPP, migrants were allowed to enter the United States, resulting in many migrants not appearing for their court date. These protocols have led to a 70 percent decline in apprehensions at the Southwest border as of January of this year, before COVID-related economic conditions contributed to a new surge.

Another vital tool that must be preserved is the Asylum Cooperation Agreements (ACA),  or “Safe Third Country” agreements with the Northern Triangle nations of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The arrangements require migrants seeking asylum to apply in the first country they pass through. These negotiations have been instrumental in preventing migrants from “asylum shopping” their way into the United States.

The MPP and ACA protocols have enlisted the cooperation of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador in stemming large and organized flows of migrants headed toward the United States. Those seeking to file bogus asylum claims can no longer enter the United States before filing a claim. As a result, many have chosen to abandon their claims and return to their home country.  

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to dismantle all of these arrangements when he becomes president. Removing these programs would likely result more waves of migration to our Southern border as many migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador migrate to the United States for mostly economic reasons, not for fear of government persecution or gang violence. 

Additionally, large numbers of new asylum applications would create an even a greater backlog in our immigration system. Removing the MPP and/or ACA would be taking away the few deterrents available to asylum fraud. 

The next presidential administration should not only affirm the continued cooperation from Mexico and the Northern Triangle, but also codify these agreements in Congress. The United States should not bear the brunt of uncontrolled mass migration, especially amid a global pandemic. These agreements have secured regional cooperation and ensure stronger immigration laws to protect Americans.

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