U.S. to Resume Trump-Era ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy for Migrants

The United States will resume a controversial Trump-era policy known as “Remain in Mexico” for migrants due to a court order after initially suspending it for being “inhumane.”

Biden administration officials announced on Dec. 2 that they will restart the policy formally known called “Migrant Protection Protocols” on Dec. 6 after an order from Texas federal court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk found that the administration violated the law in how it cancelled the program.

Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, issued the order in August, prompting months-long negotiation between the U.S. and Mexico.

Mexico allowed the policy to resume after it “demanded a number of humanitarian improvements,” according to an official.

“We work to guarantee a gradual and orderly process, in accordance with the human rights of migrants,” Robert Velasco Alvarez, head of the North American Unit at the Mexican Foreign Ministry, said.

Several changes to the program include providing COVID-19 vaccinations for migrants and expanding exemptions to those with physical and mental health challenges, the elderly, and those at risk of discrimination.

The program will also expand to be open to all nationalities from the Western Hemisphere.

The American Immigration Council criticized the return of the program.

“We categorically reject the Biden administration’s claims that it can administer the Remain in Mexico program in a more humane manner… The longer the administration delays terminating this unlawful and cruel policy, the more people will suffer,” American Immigration Council Policy Director Jorge Loweree said in statement.

Loweree also said that by adding new nationalities, the Biden administration “has made the program even broader than under Trump.”

Senator Bob Menendez urged the Biden administration in a statement “to make every effort to reduce the harm of this court order and ensure the end of this xenophobic and anti-immigrant policy for good.”

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