Biden Admin Restarts “Remain in Mexico” Program but Expect it to Be Short-Lived

A federal court order directed the Biden administration to reimplement the “Remain in Mexico” program Monday. Also referred to as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), the Trump-era program required asylum seekers to remain in Northern Mexico while they awaited their court hearing in the U.S. And while at first glance the breaking news may seem encouraging, the Biden administration is merely minimally complying with a court order issued by a federal judge and has every intention of terminating the program permanently in the near future.

In 2019, the Trump administration implemented the “Remain in Mexico” program to deter illegal immigration, reduce fraudulent asylum claims, and to end policies that released illegal aliens into the interior of country where they would never be heard from again. In just under a year, the program sent some 70,000 mostly fraudulent asylum seekers to Mexico and helped regain control of the U.S.-Mexico border during what was then seen as a historic border crisis (albeit, it pales in comparison to what is currently being seen under the Biden administration).

Soon after the Biden administration entered the Oval Office, it attempted to officially end the program a number of times, and repeatedly said that “Remain in Mexico” contained “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.” 

Despite these continued efforts, the Biden administration did not succeed. In August, a federal judge sided with a Texas and Missouri lawsuit that claimed the administration’s attempt to halt the program was illegal and harmful. The judge ordered the administration to reinstate the program and “enforce and implement” the program “in good faith.”

And so, while the administration did restart the program this past Monday, it is doing so half-heartedly with every intention of terminating it permanently in the near future. The “Remain in Mexico” policy is currently only operating in one border city (El Paso, Texas) and is limiting enrollment to merely 30 people per day, according to Customs and Border Protection. Moreover, in a newly issued press release, the administration stated that “once the court injunction is lifted, MPP will be terminated.” 

Rescinding this program amid a historic border crisis with no end in sight would severely compromise our nation’s southern border security and the integrity of our immigration system. Under the Biden administration, illegal immigration totals reached levels never seen before in U.S. history, with the backlog of pending cases in the nation’s immigration courts also reaching its highest totals on record.

The effectiveness of the “Remain in Mexico” program cannot be overstated and comes at a pressing time. Unfortunately, the Biden administration will make it short-lived.