Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy returns

by Will Tubbs

Matt Bush, FISM News


Hundreds of migrants have been arriving in Northern Mexico as the Biden administration has returned to the Trump era method of processing asylum seekers’ requests for entry into the country.

The Biden Administration was forced by judge’s order to reinstate the “remain in Mexico” policy,  which requires asylum seekers at the southern border to wait in Mexico rather than America for their cases to be heard.

The policy was instituted in January 2019 and meant to stem the flow of asylum seekers, and it was successful prior to being suspended. Lawsuits filed by Texas and Missouri asking for the policy to be reimplemented forced the administration’s hand.

The hope is that the policy’s return will ease stress on border agents. According to Fox News, there has been a 163% increase in encounters in the Rio Grande Valley alone since October, not to mention other border cities that have seen similar increases.

After the judge issued the injunction, the return of the policy required acceptance by the Mexican government as that nation has to house and protect the migrants.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Mexico’s foreign secretary said that in light of U.S. concessions, the government will allow returns, expected to begin next week, ‘for humanitarian reasons and for temporary stays.’ The Latin American nation’s conditions include COVID-19 vaccinations for migrants, more protection in dangerous Mexican border cities, better access to attorneys and quicker resolution of cases.”

Once the conditions were agreed upon by the Biden Administration, steps began to be taken to put the policy back in place. Those steps, however, have not been taken willingly by the administration.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the policy “deeply flawed” even in the midst of implementing it. In addition, Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas believes the policy “has endemic flaws, imposed unjustifiable human costs, pulled resources and personnel away from other priority efforts, and failed to address the root causes of irregular migration.”  

A day after taking office, President Biden suspended the “Remain in Mexico” policy and then formally ended it in June of this year. According to data on the U.S. Customs and Border Security website, the difference between the number of border encounters under President Biden has increased from 458,088 in 2020 to 1,734,686 in 2021. In fact, the past eight months are each ranked in the top eight months for border encounters in the past four years.

Opponents of the “Remain in Mexico” policy point to human rights issues and say that migrants are subjected to violence and squalid conditions. Proponents of the policy cite its success in keeping illegal immigrants out of the country as well as reducing “pull factors” that have brought millions to the southern border since Biden’s inauguration.   

A Dec. 2 memo on the Homeland Security website states, “This Administration, however, remains under a court order requiring it to reimplement MPP in good faith, which it will abide by even as it continues to vigorously contest the ruling.  Once the court injunction is lifted, MPP will be terminated.” 

Between now and the time that the injunction is lifted, Americans will wait and watch for signs that the administration has come up with a solution to the crisis. A recent poll showed that only 35% of Americans approve of how Biden has been handling immigration.