'Remain in Mexico': US sends back two Mexican migrants under controversial Trump-era policy

WION Web Team
Mexico City Published: Dec 09, 2021, 03:31 PM(IST)

In January 2019, President Trump introduced a policy that forced approximately 70,000 asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico, sometimes for months. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

As a response to Mexico's concerns that applicants will languish in a backlogged court system of 1.5 million cases, the US has pledged to try to complete cases within 180 days

On Wednesday, US authorities returned the first two migrants to Mexico under the reinstated "Remain in Mexico" policy.

According to Trump-era policy, asylum-seekers have to wait in Mexico for an immigration court hearing in the United States.

In a statement, the UN International Organization for Migration said that the migrants were sent to Mexico by way of a bridge in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. Nationalities of the two were not provided by the UN Agency.

Also read | 'Unprecedented' number of migrants cross Mexico border: US govt

Upon arrival, Mexican officials provided them with documents, and UN officials gave them coronavirus tests and transported them to a shelter. Mexico says the US Government has committed to vaccinating all migrants returning under the program.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden's administration reinstated the policy to comply with a court order and agreed to the changes and additions Mexico requested.

According to a US official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because details weren't made public, the return of migrants to Ciudad Juárez was set to begin in El Paso with up to 50 migrants being sent there every day.

Also read | ​​​​​​​New migrant caravan in Mexico pushes past blockade to head north

The Homeland Security Department confirmed that returning has started at one location and will expand to six more in the near future. Citing 'operational security reasons,' it declined to identify the launch city or how many migrants will be processed.

As a response to Mexico's concerns that applicants will languish in a backlogged court system of 1.5 million cases, the US has pledged to try to complete cases within 180 days.

In January 2019, President Trump introduced a policy that forced approximately 70,000 asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico, sometimes for months.

Also read | ​​​​​​​US-Mexico border: Arrests reach record highs, reveals report

President Biden suspended this policy on his first day in office. He ended the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) in pursuit of what he called a more humane approach toward immigration. Biden's move, however, was found to have not followed proper procedure and a federal judge reinstated MPP in August.

(With inputs from agencies)

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