The Biden administration is planning to promptly reinstate the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy that requires asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border to wait in Mexico until their cases are heard.
“As we have previously stated, we are required by court order to reimplement MPP,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News, referring to Migrant Protection Protocols.
“In compliance with the court order, we are working to reimplement MPP as promptly as possible. 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,” the spokesperson added.
Established by the Trump administration in January 2019, the “Remain in Mexico” policy, or MPP, returned migrants to Mexico to await asylum hearings instead of keeping them in the United States.
Adult migrants under the reinstated policy will also be given the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to two government immigration officials who spoke to Axios.
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security said it was ready to reinstate MPP by mid-November in response to a court order that the Supreme Court upheld, even as DHS works to abolish the program by a different method.
Proponents of the policy claimed it was an effective program that kept illegal immigrants out of the country and reduced the “pull factors” that draw other migrants. Critics blasted it as a cruel policy that put migrants at risk of violence and led them to subsist in squalid conditions.
A federal judge had ordered the Biden administration to “enforce and implement” the policy in response to a lawsuit from Texas and Missouri, which claimed that the Biden administration’s attempt to terminate it was illegal and harmful.
The ruling came after Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had put the program on hold in June, claiming at the time that the policy failed to “adequately or sustainably enhance border management in such a way as to justify the program’s extensive operational burdens and other shortfalls.”
Fox News’ David Spunt and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.