The Biden administration and Mexico have reached an agreement to restart the Trump-era 'Remain in Mexico' immigration policy starting Monday, according to US officials cited by the Wall Street Journal. The program forces asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico until their hearings before a US immigration court.
The resuscitated policy - which Biden called "dangerous and inhumane" during the 2020 campaign - is in response to an order by a federal court in Texas that ruled the current administration's attempts to wind down the program were unlawful.
The policy, formally called the Migrant Protection Protocols, was introduced by former President Donald Trump in 2019 at the height of a surge in Central American families coming to the U.S. border. After the policy was introduced, border crossings fell precipitously. -WSJ
According to the report, the Biden administration expects to begin sending migrants back to Mexico beginning Monday.
Cue the outrage? Of course not...
For instance, we have not been treated to any of this throughout 2021 even though the situation at the border has been utterly horrific for migrants and other asylum seekers:https://t.co/f2NWeIyIIT— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 2, 2021
The reason I quickly built a large readership when I began writing about politics in 2005 was so many Dems loved my work denouncing the civil liberties abuses of Bush/Cheney.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 2, 2021
When Obama won and continued or expanded them, I looked around and thought: hey, where did you all go??
On a Thursday call with reporters, US officials say they have an agreement 'in principle' with Mexico, however a formal announcement will be forthcoming before the US can begin sending migrants back under the revived program.
The resumed policy will exist in parallel with another Trump-era immigration policy, Title 42, which allows the US government to rapidly expel migrants back to Mexico - including on deportation flights to their home countries - denying them the ability to apply for asylum. The Biden admin has said they would give priority to Title 42 cases, and will use Remain in Mexico for individuals who can't be expelled using the public-health authority.
A 'kinder, gentler' approach...
According to the Journal, "U.S. officials stressed that they have made many changes to the Remain in Mexico program to make it safer for migrants—changes they said Mexico had demanded as conditions to restart the program."
Migrants will be given time to consult with U.S.-based lawyers before being sent back to Mexico and will receive screenings to ensure they don’t have a “reasonable fear” of returning to the country. The categories of migrants exempted from the program will also be expanded to include elderly migrants, those with physical or mental disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender migrants, who could face discrimination in Mexico.
Adults will also be given the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, and children the Pfizer vaccine, with a second dose administered at one of their court hearings.
The U.S. officials said they have committed to wrap up asylum cases of each migrant placed into the program within six months. They will also provide shelter and safe transport to and from U.S. court hearings, possibly with the assistance of United Nations organizations. Under the Trump administration, migrants were most often targeted for kidnappings when the U.S. returned them to Mexico after hearings at ports of entry. -WSJ
Read the rest of the report here.