A federal court order directed the Biden administration to reimplement the “Remain in Mexico” program in December, but the administration is slow-walking its reimplementation.
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. Its intention was to deter illegal immigration, reduce fraudulent asylum claims, and to end policies that released illegal aliens into the interior of the country where they would never be heard from again. In just under a year, the program returned some 70,000 mostly fraudulent asylum seekers to Mexico.
The Biden administration has stated its intent to terminate this program. It has already attempted to officially end the program a number of times, and has 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.”
And so, while the administration did restart the program this past December, it is doing so merely to comply with a federal court order until it figures out how to appropriately rescind the program.
New data from December reveals that the Biden administration is slow-walking the implementation of the program in any way that it can.
In December 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enrolled 267 individuals in MPP, all of whom were single adults. Of the 267 individuals, 162 were from Nicaragua, 59 from Venezuela, 32 from Cuba, seven from Colombia, and seven from Ecuador.
Not a single migrant from the Northern Triangle countries—who represent the vast majority of monthly southern border apprehensions—was enrolled in the program.
The Biden administration has yet to fully reimplement the program in all nine southwest border sectors. It is currently operating it in just three: San Diego, El Paso, and the Rio Grande Valley Sectors (Rio Grande Valley as of just a week ago).
Slow-walking the restart of this program with the intention of permanently terminating it is a colossal mistake amid a historic border and immigration crisis with no end in sight. Under the Biden administration, illegal immigration totals have levels never seen before in U.S. history, with the backlog of pending cases in the immigration courts also reaching its highest totals on record.