Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday officially nixed the Trump policy that had allowed illegal immigrants to be pushed back across the southwestern border into Mexico immediately, a tactic that had helped solve the previous border surge.
Even though the Biden team is facing a new surge at the border, Mr. Mayorkas said the policy won’t be needed anymore. He said the program, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, showed “mixed effectiveness” over its lifespan.
Border Patrol agents and law enforcement along the border dispute that characterization, saying MPP was critical to denying illegal immigrants a foothold in the U.S., removing the incentive that spurred most of them to come in the first place.
The program’s critics, though, pointed to reports of migrants who were targeted for kidnapping and abuse when they were returned to Mexico.
The program had been effectively shut down as of the start of the Biden Administration, though it still existed in name.
The administration has worked to allow tens of thousands of migrants who had been waiting in Mexico to reenter the U.S.
Immigrant-rights activists cheered the decision.
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, called it “a monumental step forward in erasing the stain of this immoral policy.”
“Approximately 70,000 asylum seekers were cruelly forced to wait in dangerous conditions for their chance at protection, oftentimes for years on end,” she said. “Migrant families and children have been exploited, kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered as a direct result of this shameful, inhumane policy.”
Without the MPP, tens of thousands of migrants are now jumping the border and being caught and released in the hope that they come back for an eventual immigration court hearing years in the future.
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