The Biden administration announced on Friday that the U.S. will begin allowing 25,000 asylum seekers, who were sent back to Mexico under Tump’s “remain in Mexico policy," to enter the country, marking a reversal of Trump's policy requiring asylum seekers from Central American nations to stay south of the border until their cases can be heard.
This marks the latest step in a string of Trump-era policy rollbacks since Biden entered office, but follows a recent announcement that the U.S. would still continue rejecting a vast majority of migrants.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas released a statement regarding the administration’s immigration policies saying, “As President Biden has made clear, the U.S. government is committed to rebuilding a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system.”
He further added that the “changes will take time” due to the pandemic and warned non-eligible migrants not to travel to the border stating, "Due to the current pandemic, restrictions at the border remain in place and will be enforced.”
It is estimated that around 25,000 migrants are currently waiting in Mexico under Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols. Beginning Feb. 19, the Biden administration said three ports on the border will begin reprocessing around 300 of those migrants each day, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
COVID-19 tests will be administered to each migrant who qualifies for the reprocessing. Figuring out who qualifies for reprocessing will be determined with help from the Mexican government and several international non-profits.
On Biden’s first day in office, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would be stopping Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy despite it allowing the U.S. to send more than 70,000 migrants back to Mexico since its January 2019 rollout, according to a study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, nearly 300,000 migrants have been turned away from border ports of entry or apprehended illegally crossing between them since October 1.
H/T USA Today