The US will reinstate a Trump-era immigration program today forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for US immigration hearings.
President Joe Biden reversed the contentious policy in January, but a federal judge ordered the program to be reinstated for failing to follow protocol during the reversal process.
The Biden Administration announced Thursday its intent to end the program legally, and has worked with Mexico to institute reforms such as transportation to hearings in the US, access to shelter in Mexico, and the provision of COVID-19 vaccines. Despite the changes, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has decried the continued harm to asylum seekers under the policy.
During President Trump’s tenure, migrants waited more than a year at border crossings in squalid conditions or were forced to return home to threats of violence. Many of the border shelters in Mexico are already full as the US has deported one million immigrants under the Title 42 policy in 2021. Despite the urgency of the immigration issue, a recent meeting between the US and Mexico primarily focused on updating the 2008 Mérida Initiative to address organized crime. The policy’s reinstatement will likely lead to exacerbated humanitarian disaster.
Acadia is an analyst on the Current Developments team and regular contributor to the Daily Brief. She focuses on authoritarianism and security in the Middle East.