Biden administration formally ends Trump policy forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico
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Biden administration formally ends Trump policy forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico

The Biden administration on Tuesday formally ended a Trump administration policy that forced 68,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their court dates in US immigration court.

Under the Migrant Protection Protocols Program, enacted in 2019, individuals entering or seeking admission into the US from Mexico could be returned to Mexico and made to wait there during their immigration proceedings.

The program had been legally challenged, and the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments on the matter. However, the Biden administration asked for cancellation of the arguments due to the program’s suspension in January, and the Supreme Court removed the cases from its calendar.

Then-Acting Secretary David Pekoske suspended the program in January. President Joe Biden then issued Executive Order 14010 on February 2, ordering the Homeland Security Security to review the program and to consider a “phased strategy for the safe and orderly entry” into the US for the asylum seekers who had been forced to wait in Mexico. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a memo on Tuesday that formally ended the Migrant Protection Protocols Program.

In terminating the program, Mayorkas wrote that the program had “mixed effectiveness in achieving several of its central goals and that the program experienced significant challenges.” However, it did not “adequately or sustainably enhance border management in such a way as to justify the program’s extensive operational burdens and other shortfalls.”

Therefore, he directed DHS personnel to immediately take action to terminate the program and to continue to participate in the ongoing phased strategy for the entry of individuals who were enrolled in the program. He noted that the program’s termination did not impact the phased entry process.