Awareness - September 6, 2022 - We Welcome

Awareness - September 6, 2022

MPP has ended, but hundreds of asylum seekers are still waiting in Mexico

An article published by TIME last week highlights the plight of hundreds of asylum seekers who continue to wait in Mexico despite the formal ending of the “Remain in Mexico” program. DHS is requiring those enrolled in the program to wait until their next court date to enter the U.S. and begin the process of removing them from MPP – which could be weeks or even months. 

TIME reported that there were 1,115 open cases with individuals still waiting in Mexico as of July 19th. Camilo Montoya-Galvez of CBS News reported that about 700 individuals have been admitted to the U.S. since the program was allowed to be ended by court order. 

Senators express concern about low refugee resettlement

On August 26th, 11 senators sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department expressing their concern over historically low levels of refugee admissions, and asking pointed questions about what these departments are doing to address these issues. 

Despite promises from the Biden administration to “strengthen and rebuild” the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, we have reached the final month of fiscal year 2022 with some of the lowest resettlement rates in the history of the program. Since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980, the average rate of resettlement has been around 75,000 refugee admissions per year, but admissions began to drop drastically in 2017. A combination of policy changes and the global effects of COVID-19 led to incredibly low resettlement numbers for both 2020 (11,814) and 2021 (11,411), and 2022 is on pace to be the third lowest year on record. 

The U.S. will end humanitarian parole entry for Afghans in October

The Biden administration announced last week that starting on October 1, the U.S. will no longer use humanitarian parole as a means to swiftly resettle Afghans except in a few cases with “exigent circumstances.” As Operation Allies Welcome shifts to Operation Enduring Welcome, the U.S. will focus on resettling refugees with a pathway to permanent residence. These pathways include family reunification for those with immediate relatives already in the United States, those eligible for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV), and those who qualify for resettlement through the refugee admissions program.  

This new policy change should still allow for the adjudication of the tens of thousands of applications that have been in process since last year. Since last July, USCIS has received over 46,000 humanitarian parole applications from Afghans and most of those have not yet been reviewed. Of those that have been completed, more than 90% were denied.