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HIAS Disappointed by MPP Resumption

SILVER SPRING, Md. — HIAS, the international Jewish humanitarian organization, is disappointed in the Biden administration’s decision to resume the Migration Protection Protocols, or MPP. In a court filing yesterday the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it has made substantial progress toward the re-implementation of MPP, the policy that was created in 2019 and used by the previous administration to force most asylum seekers who presented themselves at the southern border to wait for their asylum hearings in unsafe conditions in Mexico, rather than in the United States. 

Tens of thousands of people were affected by the policy, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” and many are known to have suffered violent crimes in Mexico. Thousands of people are still suffering from the effects of MPP and continue to have their access to protection in the U.S. blocked. HIAS believes there is no safe, humane, or lawful way to implement MPP.

“It’s disheartening, to say the least, to go backwards when it comes to saving lives. Remain in Mexico has been a humanitarian disaster and did nothing but cause chaos and disorder in Northern Mexico while keeping asylum seekers from seeking safety with the support of lawyers and others ready to help them here in the U.S.,” said Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ senior vice president for public affairs. “We urge the Biden Administration to take a pragmatic and humane approach to the border, which does not include barring asylum seekers.”

When President Biden came to office, he immediately halted MPP and in June DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas disbanded the program. But then the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in August that the executive orders to stop MPP had not been properly written or administered. Since then DHS has promised to release an updated memo attempting to terminate the program, but has been slow in doing so and, in the meantime, has to show the steps it is taking to restart MPP.

In January, HIAS released a report, “Roadmap to Recovery: A Path Forward after the Remain in Mexico Program,” which offers comprehensive recommendations on how to end and dismantle MPP. HIAS is hopeful the Biden administration will continue to engage in a process that will lead to the eventual termination of MPP.

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