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African HRC Decries Biden's Remain in Mexico Program

The Biden administration announced imminent plans to restart the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a Trump policy that forced people seeking asylum to await their U.S. immigration court dates in perilous conditions in Mexico. Reports suggest MPP processing will resume as soon as next Monday. AHRC joined the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) and other colleagues imploring the Biden administration to prevent the return of MPP since a federal court injunction ordered the program’s resumption back in August.

It is alarming to note that the Biden administration is not only restarting MPP, but also expanding the policy’s reach even beyond its original iteration under Trump.

African Human Rights Coalition is disturbed by the announcement and decries it in the strongest terms.

It is difficult to accept the assertion that the administration has no other options. These actions serve to endorse reprehensible Trump policy that defies understanding. It seeks to shirk America’s obligation to apply full and unfettered due process for asylum seekers.

All asylum seekers have a legal right to immediately seek asylum at our border and the Biden administration continues to turn its back on this truth and the reality of their policy despite assertions of reform or upgraded resources.

CCGR notes: "The Biden administration has pledged to make “humanitarian improvements” to MPP, including the right to legal counsel and a promise to resolve MPP cases more quickly. But as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas himself has acknowledged, MPP’s severe flaws are “endemic” and fundamental to its design. Every day a person seeking asylum is forced to “remain in Mexico” puts them at risk of violence at the hands of cartels and other actors, including Mexican law enforcement, that routinely prey on migrants. And it is simply not possible for people trapped in Mexico to access U.S. immigration attorneys who can support them throughout the difficult process of preparing an asylum case."

Melanie Nathan of African HRC adds: "This is especially dangerous for forcibly displaced LGBTQI+ people who are soft targets for hostility, violence and exploitation. It is clear to us that for LGBTQI+ people the program exacerbates the daunting danger that is currently leading to huge suffering and human loss. Some have travelled from as far as Africa, taking months to arrive at our border, expecting to be heard on safer US soil. This is unconscionable and we cannot allow ourselves to be complicit in the violence through inept policy."

CGRS Director Karen Musalo adds: “President Biden continues to promise a fair and humane asylum system, but the reality on the ground nearly one year into his first term tells a very different story. For 10 months the administration has used the pandemic as cover to expel people seeking asylum to danger, ignoring objections by public health experts, human rights leaders, and its own legal advisors. Now the administration is hiding behind a court order to revive and expand a policy that has caused untold suffering at our nation’s doorstep. A more robust MPP, coupled with escalating Title 42 expulsions, will cement the Biden administration’s illegal border closure and leave a lasting stain on the president’s legacy.”

All should be able to pursue asylum from within the United States, it is time to stop the harm and follow what is right.



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