What is 'Remain in Mexico' and Will it be Reinstated?

Mexico's Supreme Court is preparing to reinstate the controversial "Remain inMexico" policy.

What is Remain in Mexico?

With the "Remain in Mexico" policy, people seeking asylum had to wait in Mexico.

Under the regulation, also known as the 'Migrant Protection Protocols' (MPP), migrants who want to enter the US through Mexico, but;

  • Not having the necessary documentation,
  • Or trying to enter illegally

people can be returned to Mexico. These people wait in Mexico until their immigration procedures are finalized. As part of the agreement, the Mexican state will provide humanitarian aid and support to people in the waiting process.

This practice, which is said to be implemented to prevent illegal immigration, was put into effect during the Trump era. DHS's statement in January 2019 read as follows:

"America faces a security threat and a humanitarian crisis. DHS is using all of its resources and authorities to secure borders, enforce immigration and customs laws, facilitate legal trade and travel, and combat drugs, traffickers, and criminal organizations. (...) False court decisions and outdated laws allow adults with children, unaccompanied alien children, and people seeking asylum illegally to remain in the U.S. (...) This will prevent people from making false claims to enter and remain in the U.S. illegally, and allocate more resources to people who are legally eligible for asylum."

One of the first things the Biden administration did when it took office was to suspend this practice. Biden justified this by stating that the practice caused 'injustices and human costs'.

Human rights organizations had stated that people who were held in Mexico as part of the practice faced situations such as kidnapping, murder, torture and rape.

But the legal battle around the 'MPP' is not over.

Some states objected to the government's suspension and took the matter to court. The Biden administration first introduced an updated version of the program in December 2021, allegedly more sensitive to human rights.

Then, in June 2022, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Biden government was authorized to end the practice. The Biden government ended the practice in August of the same year.

Thus, migrants who were not deported were allowed to enter the United States after their next hearing. The termination of the practice, which was opposed by human rights organizations, brought about various debates.

It is not known what action the Biden administration will take.

Especially in September 2023, a record number of migrants crossed America's southern border, putting the Biden administration, which will run for re-election next year, in a difficult situation. On the other hand, it was stated that the authorities in Mexico detained a record number of migrants this year and a record number of asylum applications will be broken.

The Supreme Court in Mexico has taken steps to reinstate the practice, reigniting the debate. The Mexican non-governmental organizationFundación para la Justiciahad objected to the Mexican state being a party to the practice. This objection was accepted and the Mexican government was exempted from fulfilling the requirements of the practice.

Mexico is debating a measure that would allow the Supreme Court to bypass executive branch oversight and ratify any international treaty it wishes. Civil society organizations in the region are concerned that this could lead to the reinstatement of Remain in Mexico.

Ana Paola Delgadillo, director of Fundación para la Justicia, said: "Itis dangerous that the US wants to implement these policies. It is also dangerous for Mexico to accept them. Mexico is a very dangerous place for migrants," she said.

Source: DHS, U.S. Supreme Court, The Guardian, Bloomberg, Time, Fundación Para La Justicia

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