The Biden administration will begin booting asylum seekers back to Mexico as soon as next week following a court order to resume the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" program, according to Axios, which adds that the illegal immigrants will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine on the way out.
The ruling means that Biden will officially backtrack on a key election promise which forces asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico until their US immigration court hearings.
More via Axios:
- One difference from the program under former President Trump's administration: All migrant adults enrolled in "Remain in Mexico" will be offered the vaccine, although it can't be required, according to two government immigration officials.
- It's unclear at what point in the process the migrants would be able to get their shots, whether before being turned back, when they return to the U.S. for their court hearing or at some other time.
- The policy, formally called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), will first be reinstated in El Paso and Brownsville, Texas, as well as San Diego, California, one DHS official said.
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"In compliance with the court order, we are working to reimplement MPP as promptly as possible," DHS spokesperson Marsha Espinosa told the outlet, which notes that the timing of the move ultimately depends on Mexico's cooperation.
"We cannot do so until we have the independent agreement from the Government of Mexico to accept those we seek to enroll in MPP. We will communicate to the court, and to the public, the timing of reimplementation when we are prepared to do so."
According to two sources familiar with internal discussions, there are concerns about migrants who would be forced to travel through Mexico in the 'middle of the night' so they can be on time for early morning court hearings.
Read the rest of the report here.
Unauthorized migrant crossings dropped for a third straight month in October, with 'only' 164,303 people intercepted along the US-Mexico border - a 14% decrease from September as the number of Haitians plummeted by more than 90%.