President Joe Biden’s administration is reportedly set to resume deporting asylum seekers to Mexico, complying with a federal court order to restore a key immigration policy from former President Donald Trump.
The evictions under the “Stay in Mexico” The program will resume next week, according to the media Axios reported Wednesday, citing unidentified government officials. Migrants will be forced to wait in Mexico for months or years for immigration court hearings to determine whether they will be granted asylum in the United States.
The move flies in the face of a Biden campaign promise because “Stay in Mexico” was part of Trump-era border policies that the new administration condemned as “cruel,” but a federal judge ruled in August that the government must reinstate the program. Trump implemented the policy, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), in 2019 to help reduce the flow of migrants.
Axios noted that Biden will modify the MPP by offering Covid-19 vaccines to all adult migrants who are returned to Mexico under the program. All affected asylum seekers will be offered free injections, but none will be forced to take them, according to the report.
Even as the administration prepares to comply with the court order, it is taking steps to overturn the MPP again. US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released a new memorandum last month canceling the policy in the hopes that, unlike an earlier order, it will take a legal step forward.
Despite the administration apparently reluctantly complying with the court order, activist groups have criticized Biden for failing to deliver on his promise to treat migrants more humanely. “Trump’s 2.0 policies at the border are a recipe for continued cruelty, disorder and violations of refugee law” Eleanor Acer, Senior Director of Human Rights First noted in October. “The Biden administration must honor its promise to end this horrible program.”
US Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) last week accused mayors of “Slow walking and refusal to comply” with the court order on MPP. Mayorkas replied that the administration is implementing the order “in good faith” and cannot reinstate the program without negotiating an agreement guaranteeing the cooperation of the Mexican government.
With Biden weakening border enforcement efforts, Cruz said, illegal border crossings peaked at 61 years in 2021 after plunging to a 45-year low under Trump in 2020.
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