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The Biden administration officially ended a policy that required asylum seekers to continue their business in Mexico.
The previous White House program of migrant protection protocols, known as the “Stay in Mexico” policy, went into effect in 2019. Supporters sharply criticized the MPP, in part because it forced them to stay in Mexico. LGBTQ asylum seekers to live in Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez. , Matamoros and other Mexican border towns even more vulnerable to violence and persecution because of their gender identity and sexual orientation.
The White House suspended MPP registration in January shortly after President Biden took office.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday sent a note to Acting U.S. Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Troy Miller, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the States- United States, Tae Johnson, and Acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services of the United States, Tracy Renaud, who announced the end of Trump-era politics reported that about 11,200 applicants for asylum with MPP cases were allowed to enter the United States between February 19 and May 25. Estuardo Cifuentes, a gay man from Guatemala who ran Rainbow Bridge Asylum Seekers, a program for asylum seekers and LGBTQ migrants in Matamoros who the Matamoros Resource Center, a group that provides assistance to asylum seekers and migrants in the Mexican border town, helped to create, is one of them.
“The MPP does not adequately or sustainably improve border management in such a way as to justify heavy operational burdens and other program shortcomings,” Mayorkas wrote in his memo.
“In deciding to maintain, modify, or terminate the MPP, I reflected on my deep conviction, which is shared throughout this administration, that the United States is both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, determined to increase access to justice and provide protection to those fleeing persecution and torture through an asylum system that makes decisions in a fair and timely manner, ”he added. “To this end, the department is currently exploring ways to implement the long-standing necessary reforms of our asylum system, designed to reduce the time it takes for migrants, including asylum seekers, to get their cases right. judged, while ensuring adequate treatment. procedural guarantees and increased access to a lawyer.
Steve Roth, executive director of the Organization for Refugees, Asylum and Migration, a Minnesota-based organization that works with LGBTQ refugees and migrants around the world, hailed the end of the MPP.
“We are very happy to finally see the end of the dangerous and illegal ‘stay in Mexico’ policy that was put in place by the Trump administration in early 2019,” Roth told the Washington Blade in a statement. “This policy has forced asylum seekers on our southern border – including many LGBTIQ people – to spend months and sometimes years in dangerous Mexican border towns while their asylum claims are processed.
Roth added that the MPP “did not conform to the United States’ commitments to international asylum law and did not reflect who we are as a country.”
“We are grateful to President Biden and his administration for reversing this policy and for their commitment to a just and humane immigration and asylum system,” he said.
Equality Immigration Legal Director Bridget Crawford echoed Roth.
“President Trump has created a humanitarian catastrophe with this policy which has resulted in the assault, rape, kidnapping or murder of more than a thousand asylum seekers while awaiting their asylum hearings, including LGBTQ and HIV positive people, “Crawford told The Blade in a statement. .
The end of the MPP is the latest in a series of steps the Biden administration has taken to overturn previous White House intransigent immigration policies.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told The Blade last month that protecting migrants and asylum seekers fleeing persecution because of their gender identity and sexual orientation is the key. one of the administration’s global LGBTQ rights priorities.
Vice President Kamala Harris is among administration officials who have publicly acknowledged that anti-LGBTQ violence is a “root cause” of migration from Central America. Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, whose district includes the border town of El Paso, and others noted to Blade that Title 42, a rule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that closed the southern border to most asylum seekers and migrants due to the coronavirus pandemic, remain in place.
Congress has yet to consider a comprehensive immigration reform bill that Democrats introduced in February. Crawford, in his statement, also notes that the Mayorkas memo “does not address the thousands of people who have been wrongly denied redress under the MPP”.
“These people no longer have ‘active’ cases, so they are not being processed by the administration, but many live in Mexico or have been returned to their countries where they are being persecuted. Literally some of these people were sentenced to death, ”Crawford said. “The Biden administration has yet to deal with these cases and whether people who have been wrongly denied relief under the MPP program will have the opportunity to renew their claims.”