Biden To Admit 25,000 Asylum-Seekers Forced To Stay In Mexico Under Trump-Era Policy


The Biden administration said Friday it will begin to admit tens of thousands of asylum-seekers to the U.S. who had been forced to remain in Mexico until their cases were processed, undoing a Trump-era policy that sparked high-profile legal battles over the living conditions of migrants.

The Department of Homeland Security said on Feb. 19 it will begin to gradually process roughly 25,000 migrants at the southern border, allowing them to live in the U.S. while they await immigration court proceedings.

But Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas added that migrants not eligible under the first stage of the policy reversal should await further instructions rather than travel to the border, where he said capacity restraints “remain serious.”

“The prior administration forced thousands of children and families into homelessness and dangerous conditions along the border, where many experienced kidnapping, assault and other violence,” Jennifer Nagda, a policy director at the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, said in a statement to Forbes. “The Young Center has worked with children and families trapped in Mexico and we know that they can’t wait any longer. Every family subjected to this inhumane and fundamentally unjust process should be quickly and safely admitted into the United States and given the opportunity to re-start the process of seeking protection.”

The “Remain In Mexico” policy was announced in 2019 as part of a broader effort by Former President Donald Trump to reduce illegal and legal immigration, but critics said it has left migrants stranded in Mexican border towns where they face unsanitary and dangerous living conditions. The new process applies to asylum-seekers who were sent to Mexico and still have pending cases before the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Immigration officials said eligible individuals will be allowed to enter the U.S. through designated ports of entry and that they would provide instructions “in the coming days.” Those who are processed through the program will be tested for Covid-19 before they enter.


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