The Biden administration is all set to begin re-implementing President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy (formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, or “MPP”) for migrants seeking to enter the U.S. via the Southwest border - but not for the common-sense reasons you might think.
The move comes only after a Supreme Court ruling this summer that blocked the White House from halting the program, criticized by progressives - and Biden himself, during the 2020 campaign - as xenophobic and inhumane.
For those new to the story, here’s a general timeline: Under the Trump administration, new measures were put in place that required most asylum-seeking migrants to stay on the Mexican side of the Southwest U.S. border until their cases were adjudicated by an immigration judge. The policy was in line with U.S. law, which requires asylees to file for legal asylum from the first safe place they're able to get to after fleeing their homeland for fear of persecution.
In one of his first executive orders on Inauguration Day, President Biden halted the supposedly racist program, one of several steps that triggered an immediate and historic wave of illegal immigration at the border and created a massive humanitarian crisis. In turn, Texas and Missouri sued. A federal judge in Texas ruled the administration had illegally halted the MPP policy, a decision that was later backed up by a 6-3 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Left with few choices, the Biden administration is now required to reinstate the policy "in good faith," albeit with some leeway to make changes to how it’s implemented – including a vow from the White House that it will expedite asylum claims, set up tent camps along the border, and expand the categories of migrants who may skip the process altogether.
But the fact that the administration is restarting the policy rather than drafting another order aimed at halting it isn’t sitting well with left-wing immigration advocates, who say the Biden White House isn’t trying hard enough to change how illegal aliens are treated.
“The Biden administration has had nearly two months to issue a new memo that addresses the district court’s concerns and formally terminate the MPP program for good. The fact that it has not done so and is instead moving forward with plans to restart the program in November is a betrayal of the president’s campaign promises and a clear sign that this administration is failing to re-envision border management and the way that we treat people who are seeking protection in the United States,” American Immigration Council Policy Director Jorge Loweree said in a statement, per The Hill.
Of course, another explanation could be that the administration is taking the easy way out after having been blasted from both sides for its catastrophic handling of the border. More than 1.4 million illegal aliens were apprehended while making their way into the country illegally this past fiscal year alone – a total, by the way, that doesn’t include those who came across and weren’t caught by border agents. Conservatives and liberals alike have slammed Biden over photos exposing overcrowded border facilities, seemingly endless migrant caravans, and children being dropped over border fencing and abandoned by smugglers.