(Headline USA) Despite recent court challenges, the Biden administration will officially begin its rollback of former president Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, reverting instead to the flawed “catch and release” practices of before.
With a growing surge once again returning to the US–Mexico border, states such as Texas and Arizona are begging President Joe Biden to take charge of the unfettered crossings.
Instead, Biden has pledged to quadruple the quota for migrants seeking asylum in the US, and already he appears to have maxed out many of the detention centers to overcrowded conditions—a move that was met with much criticism during the Trump administration.
For no obvious reason related to policy, Biden also is now planning to reverse Trump’s policy and let in even more asylum seekers to vanish into the country while the outcome of their case is being determined.
Due to legal loopholes, those who are detained may only remain in detention for a brief period of time, particularly those with underage children. That has, in the past, encouraged coyotes and drug-runners to abduct children at the border in order to coast through the detention process.
With Biden planning to reinstate the prior, flawed “catch and release” policy on Friday, administration officials claim the number of asylum-seekers coming in initially will be very limited.
The rollout will begin at a border crossing in San Diego before expanding to Brownsville, Texas, on Monday and El Paso, Texas, next Friday.
In a move likely to fall on deaf ears from desperate—and often dangerous—border-hopping migrants, U.S. officials were warning people not to come to the U.S.–Mexico border.
Instead, they said an estimated 25,000 people with active cases in the “Remain in Mexico” program and several hundred who are appealing decisions should register on a website that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is launching early next week.
The U.N.’s role in evaluating the status of cases marks yet another blow to effective immigration policy. The world body’s task force has been notorious for corruption, granting visas oftentimes to the highest bidder.
And its globalist leaders have called for a broader definition of “asylum” that would encompass an array of leftist causes such as climate change, drastically expanding the “credible fear” standard used by US law.
Questions and criticism also remain over the Biden administration’s failure to properly screen illegals for diseases including coronavirus, even as the president suggests further lockdowns and vaccine mandates for US citizens.
The International Organization for Migration, the U.N. migration agency, said it plans to test asylum-seekers for COVID-19 and will quarantine anyone who tests positive for 10 days before they enter the United States.
It’s unclear how long it will take to work through more than 25,000 active Remain in Mexico cases, with the oldest going first.
U.S. officials say two of the border crossings can each handle up to 300 people a day and a smaller crossing can take fewer, but they will start well below those numbers. The officials didn’t specify the crossings.
Open-border activists—many of them funded by pro-Marxist left-wing oligarchs who seek to undermine US democracy and push it more toward China—have long bemoaned the policy known officially as “Migrant Protection Protocols.”
They claimed the program exposed people to violence in Mexican border cities and made it extremely difficult for them to find lawyers and communicate with courts about their cases. However, the violence at the borders otherwise might have made its way into the US, as it is apt to do once more.
And the overabundance of activist lawyers interfering with the asylum process to bring specious claims in hopes of flooding the system is one of the biggest problems with the old model.
Trump said the “Remain in Mexico” program, based on a diplomatic agreement with the Mexican president, was critical to reversing a surge of asylum-seekers that peaked in 2019.
About 70,000 asylum-seekers were part of the program since it started in January 2019. Asylum-seekers whose cases were dismissed or denied are not eligible to return to the country, but U.S. officials have not ruled out some form of relief later.
The Biden administration, which stopped enrolling new arrivals on its first day, said last week that asylum-seekers with active cases would be released in the United States with notices to appear in immigration courts closest to their final destinations.
Nearly 100 people waited for hours Wednesday in Tijuana, Mexico, at a border crossing with San Diego before a Mexican immigration official took questions about the policy change.
Across the border from Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, Enda Marisol Rivera of El Salvador and her 10-year-old son have been braving below-freezing temperatures this week, snuggling under piles of donated blankets in their makeshift tent of tarps. Their propane gas stove froze, she said.
Rivera and her son are among about 1,000 immigrants living in the tent camp in a sprawling park just south of the Rio Grande in the Mexican city of Matamoros. About 850 of them have applied for asylum and were told to wait in Mexico for their court dates.
Many in the camp turned down offers this week to be transferred to city shelters, fearing they would lose their chance at being allowed into the United States if they didn’t stay close to the border. The bitter cold was just another burden for those who fled violence in their homelands and are living in limbo. Some have been waiting for more than two years.
Rivera was hopeful she would be allowed to come to the United States, where she could live with her sister in Los Angeles as her case wound through immigration court.
“We have faith in God that we will be allowed in,” she said Wednesday. “We have already spent enough time here.”
Nongovernmental organizations, including Jewish Family Service of San Diego and Global Response Management working in Matamoros and Brownsville, will play crucial roles in arranging temporary shelter and transportation once asylum-seekers enter the U.S.
“This problem was years in the making, and they’re trying to find solutions, but they are dealing with things coming up in real time,” said Andrea Leiner, spokeswoman for Global Response Management, which has been providing medical care at the camp in Matamoros.
“I do think we need to give a little patience and leeway to sort this out as the actors involved get the plans in place to start doing this in a safe and effective manner,” she said
But she said everyone is also on edge, especially asylum-seekers.
“People are incredibly hopeful that this is their chance to get across, but there also is a lot of anxiety and fear that somehow if they do the wrong thing and they’re not at the right place at the right time, they might miss out,” Leiner said.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press