President Biden is set to reinstate the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” immigration program as soon as this week after multiple attempts to end the policy, according to reports. In a refinement from the previous Trump policy, however, migrant adults enrolled in the program will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine, although they cannot be forced to take it. Implementation of the policy was ordered in August, by Texas District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk who ruled the administration must take good faith steps to reinstate the policy. The policy, also known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, forced thousands of migrants and refugees to wait in Mexican border regions as their claims to asylum were being adjudicated in U.S. courts hastily set up in tents near the border. The long wait led to thousands of vulnerable migrants suffering sexual and other violent assault, kidnapping, and in some cases death, according to Immigration Hub a national organization advocating for fair immigration policies.
Mexican Agreement Needed
So far the implementation of the policy has been delayed due to Mexican government concerns. Among the conditions Mexico is imposing are that these U.S. immigration cases must be wrapped up within six months, to ensure timely and accurate access to case information and allow for easier access to legal counsel for migrants seeking asylum. Mexico is also asking the U.S. to accelerate development programs for southern Mexico and Central America in order to address the root causes of migration. In addition Mexico requested that Washington offer migrants medical attention; respect designated return points; provide “additional resources” for shelters and non-governmental organizations to improve the conditions for migrants waiting in Mexico; and provide legal advice for the migrants so that their processes can “be carried out as expeditiously as possible.”
By Andy J. Semotiuk for FORBES
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