Statement: Immigrant Defenders Urges Biden Administration to Revoke not Reinstate MPP
For Immediate Release
December 2, 2021
Contact: Renee Garcia
LOS ANGELES: The Biden administration today has chosen to defy its international and moral obligation to protect the right to asylum by reinstating the Remain in Mexico policy, also known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) as soon as December 5. The policy is a xenophobic relic of the Trump administration. When first implemented, MPP forced over 70,000 migrants to stay in Mexico to await their asylum proceedings. MPP has left asylum seekers, including children, pregnant women, and LGBTQ community members vulnerable to kidnapping, rape, and other human rights abuses while they are forced to wait in dangerous border towns. While the government is required to demonstrate a good-faith implementation effort following a federal court order, they have instead chosen to expand the program to new nationalities and only providing 24 hours of access to counsel prior to being forced back into Mexico.
Despite immigration advocates, elected officials, legal experts, and physicians decrying the program as inhumane and ineffective, both the Mexican and the United States governments have agreed to carry on and expand MPP. Asylum seekers fleeing any country in the Western Hemisphere other than Mexico along the port-of-entries in San Diego, Calexico, Nogales, Eagle Pass, Laredo, Brownsville, and El Paso will be put into the program. El Paso will be the first city to begin requiring asylum seekers to stay in danger on December 5, while other port-of-entries will follow shortly after. Mexican nationals will be subject to continue to be subject to Title 42 expulsion.
President Biden claimed he would restore the U.S. asylum system and end MPP under a day one campaign trail promise. Instead, he has chosen to revive this deadly policy which has forced our clients into hiding fearing for their lives, separated families, and unnecessarily caused trauma to individuals and families seeking safety in the face of extreme threats in their birth countries. The Biden administration must acknowledge that the Migrant Protection Protocols is unlawful.
Managing Attorney of ImmDef’s Cross-Border Initiative, Margaret Cargioli, shared, “MPP is a proven human rights failure. It deprives human beings in need of protection from access to counsel and access to safety from harm and poverty. We urge you to contact your representatives and ask them to restore the U.S. asylum system at the border in order to welcome persons fleeing abusive spouses, repressive regimes, political oppression, and LGBTQ who cannot live their truth in their country of origin.”
Our efforts to provide desperately needed legal support to individuals victimized by these cruel protocols were deliberately thwarted by the Trump administration, making it virtually impossible for asylum seekers to gain access into the US, no matter how urgent their need for asylum. We urge the Biden administration to revoke MPP and recommit to rebuilding our asylum system so that it truly welcomes migrants with dignity, safety, and humanity.
Immigrant Defenders Law Center (ImmDef) is a next-generation social justice law firm that defends our immigrant communities against injustices in the legal system. We envision a future where no immigrant will be forced to face an unjust immigration court alone. Our programs are a first step towards the long-term goal of providing universal representation to all immigrants facing deportation. ImmDef is now the largest non‐profit, pro bono provider of deportation defense in California with offices in Los Angeles, Adelanto, Riverside, Santa Ana, and San Diego.