The Biden administration announced plans to start MPP back up next month
Last week, the Biden administration announced their plans to reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, as early as mid-November, providing the Mexican government allows it. Part of the new plan is building new “tent courts” to hold hearings near the Texas-Mexico border to process asylum seekers more quickly, a goal of completing cases within 6 months, and broader categories for those who could be exempted from the program.
President Biden attempted to terminate MPP upon taking office this year, but a federal judge ruled that the termination didn’t follow proper administrative procedure. The administration is appealing the court ruling, but in the meantime are required to show that they are complying “in good faith” with the order. They have not yet attempted to reissue the memo to terminate the program.
The Family Reunification Task Force reported that 52 families have been reunited so far
The family reunification task force continues to work to locate families separated at the border under Zero Tolerance, and the group reported last week that they have successfully reunited 52 families. The head of the task force, Michelle Brane, estimated that 1,000 to 1,500 still remain separated. The exact number is difficult to determine due to lack of record keeping during period of family separations. Many of the families have been separated for at least three years, and locating the parents has been complicated by both the length of time and by the fact that many have been deported.
Land borders will open in November to vaccinated travelers but not asylum seekers
Secretary Mayorkas announced on October 12th that land borders will be opened to travelers on non-essential business if they have been vaccinated.
Meanwhile, asylum seekers who arrive at the border without documentation will continue to be expelled. A report released by CBS News last week shows that of the over 1 million expulsions under the Title 42 policy, only 3,217 asylum seekers received screenings for humanitarian protection. Title 42 allows asylum seekers to be expelled without the customary “credible fear” screening. The only humanitarian screening conducted under this policy is under the UN Convention Against Torture, which applies only for those who are highly likely to be subject to torture if expelled. This screening sets a much higher bar for qualification, and only 272 of those screened passed their interviews. These reports raised concern among human rights advocates, who have previously asserted that Title 42 violates US and international law by denying migrants their legal right to request asylum.