Biden administration reimposes Trump-era 'Remain in Mexico' policy

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A policy first created under Former President Donald Trump is set to be introduced by the Biden administration, with officials outlining plans for the reimplementation of the so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy on Monday.

Officially titled the ‘MPP’ programme, it effectively bars asylum seekers from entering the US while immigration courts review specific claims. In light of this, government officials, during a call with reporters on Monday, outlined their commitment to eventually ending the programme – with provisions to be added to improve conditions for asylum-seeking enrollees in the meantime.

As ABC News reports, the existing framework of the MPP program has faced heavy criticism for the lack of legal services at the disposal of enrollees, who are forced into makeshift Mexican border camps.

In a bid to rectify this, President Joe Biden’s administration is working with legal service providers to try and assist with screening interviews and immigration court cases. One such solution, they promise, will be the introduction of 24-hour consultation windows for enrollees.

While the Trump-era policy was less than popular under the 75-year-old’s administration, if officials are to be believed, it will be vastly improved under the current president.

Capitol Riot Biden (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Capitol Riot Biden (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Further to this, the Justice Department’s Executive Office of Immigration Review is working to increase legal representation rates for asylum seekers, as well as distributing “self-help materials” to those who require additional information about the process.

The welfare of individuals waiting to be processed at the border is another key area where the policy faced criticism, as violence against asylum seekers was an all too regular occurrence. However, US humanitarian workers have already built up wi-fi access at shelters, with Mexican authorities stepping up security efforts.

Over the Christmas period, the Biden administration put plans into effect, by submitting a request to the Supreme Court for an expedited briefing on the case to end MPP. Until then, however, the programme is set to remain, with it currently costing the US government “tens of millions of dollars”, a senior Biden administration official told ABC News on Monday.

The number of asylum seekers subjected to MPP hasn't been released as things stand, but officials have confirmed that enrollments, under the new standards, are underway in El Paso and San Diego.