Scoop: Biden restarting Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy

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President Biden will begin turning asylum seekers back to Mexico as early as next week under a restored Trump-era “Stay in Mexico” program – but will offer them the option of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, Nerdshala has learned .

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why it matters: Under court orders, the president will officially undo a major immigration promise that will force asylum seekers to wait months in Mexico before their immigration court hearings in the US — until Mexico accepts them. .

  • One difference from the program under former President Trump’s administration: According to two government immigration officials, the vaccine will be offered to all migrant adults enrolled in “Ramen in Mexico,” although it may not be required.
  • It is unclear at what point in the process migrants will be able to get their shots, whether before returning, when they return to the US for their court hearings, or at some other time.
  • A DHS official said the policy, formally called the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), will first be reinstated in El Paso and Brownsville, Texas, as well as San Diego, California.

yes but: Times are changing, and the administration is finally at the mercy of Mexico’s cooperation.

  • DHS spokeswoman Marsha Espinosa told Nerdshala: “In compliance with the court order, we are working to re-enforce the MPP as quickly as possible.”
  • “We cannot do this until we have an independent agreement with the Mexican government to admit people who wish to enroll in the MPP. Will tell about the time.”
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what to watch: The vulnerable population is expected to get exemption. It is not clear who will fall into that category, or how border officials will decide who will be placed on the programme.

  • The effectiveness of the policy will continue to depend on whether Mexico is willing to accept returning migrants.
  • Two sources familiar with internal discussions also highlighted concerns about migrants who will be forced to travel from Mexico at midnight to arrive in time for an early morning court hearing.
  • The administration is trying to address this security concern before the MPP courts are reopened later.

big picture: A federal court ordered the administration to restart the MPP shortly after it was terminated.

  • There has been a split among the immigration officials regarding the program.
  • Some think that a new version will be helpful with a higher-than-usual border flow, while others wish it had nothing to do with a program that was plagued with human concerns.
  • While the administration is preparing to restart the MPP, it is also making a second attempt to end it.
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What are they saying: One administration official noted that they have long said that they will both comply with the court’s order, as well as appeal the decision.

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