In a crusade to force the Biden administration to reverse a policy that makes illegal immigrants wait in Mexico—rather than in the U.S.—for court hearings, legal aid groups have turned on the president as well as the migrants the government coerced them to help. The open border organizations have proclaimed in recent months that the Trump-era program, Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) or Remain in Mexico, is inhumane and utterly evil. In October a coalition of pro immigrant legal service providers wrote to the president, vice president, attorney general and homeland security secretary to say they refuse to be complicit in the administration’s restart of MPP, which was forced by a federal court. In the letter they call the program “horrific, racist, and unlawful.” They also slam the administration for unjustly forcing American lawyers and humanitarian staff to risk their safety by going down to Mexico to assist illegal aliens.
The coalition, which includes La Raza Community Resource Center, Al Otro Lado, Columbia Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and Catholic Legal Immigration Network, among others makes several demands in the letter including immediately informing Mexico that the U.S. cannot guarantee increased access to counsel under a reinstated MPP. The group also requests that the administration preserve the MPP wind down and continue processing individuals previously subjected to the program in the U.S. Many of the same influential open border organizations also wrote to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador weeks earlier calling on him to reject the reinstatement of MPP, which they describe as inhumane. “For two years, this policy erected insurmountable due process barriers and inflicted extreme harm on the more than 72,000 individuals seeking protection who were returned to Mexico to await their U.S. immigration hearings,” the letter to López Obrador states, adding that as a sovereign nation Mexico has the right to reject the reinstatement of MPP.
This week a mainstream newspaper reports that the pressure is mounting as prominent border aid groups outright refuse the federal government’s requests to provide legal representation to migrants waiting in Mexico for a court hearing in the U.S. It is being described as an effort to pressure the Biden administration to permanently end MPP. The aid groups claim in the article that MPP puts asylum seekers in danger by sending them to border cities with high crime and that the area is too unsafe to send attorneys. “Human-rights organizations have reported hundreds of instances of kidnappings, rape and other violent crimes against migrants sent back to Mexico, who frequently must pass through territory controlled by drug cartels each time they want to come to a U.S. border crossing for a court date,” the story reads.
MPP was implemented by President Donald Trump in 2019 to mitigate the humanitarian and security crisis ignited by an unprecedented surge in illegal immigrants from Central America. MPP was designed to help restore a safe and orderly immigration process, decrease the number of those taking advantage of the immigration system, and the ability of smugglers and traffickers to prey on vulnerable populations, and reduce threats to life, national security, and public safety, while ensuring that vulnerable populations receive the protections they need. Nearly 70,000 migrants were returned to Mexico under the program before the Biden administration terminated it in June. Two states—Texas and Missouri—sued the administration for killing MPP, arguing that the termination process was unlawful and that more illegal immigrants would be released in their state, leaving them with the cost of providing the migrants with public services. A Texas federal judge sided with the states in August and MPP was reinstated by December, sending illegal aliens back to Mexico to wait for court hearings. This month the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and oral arguments are scheduled for the second week of April.