Mexico and the U.S. are expected to announce that they reached an agreement to restart the controversial “Remain in Mexico” program that will look “fairly close” to the version during the Trump administration, a report said.
The Washington Post, citing U.S. and Mexican officials, reported that the Biden administration is still ironing out final details. The paper pointed out that President Biden has tried to end the program, but has lost legal battles.
The White House and the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News.
The policy was first implemented by former President Trump and requires asylum seekers at the southern border to stay in Mexico while they await hearings in U.S. courtrooms to determine their eligibility and status.
The policy, in cooperation with Mexico, resulted in court tents being set up along the border in places like Laredo, Texas, where migrants could briefly enter for their hearings before going back to Mexico.
About 70,000 asylum-seekers have been subject to the “Remain in Mexico” policy, known officially as “Migrant Protection Protocols,” which President Donald Trump introduced in January 2019 and Biden suspended on his first day in office.
A federal judge sided with the states of Texas and Missouri by ordering the Biden administration in August to reinstate the policy “in good faith.”
Proponents of the policy claimed it was an effective program that kept illegal immigrants out of the country and reduced the “pull factors” that draw other migrants. Critics blasted it as a cruel policy that put migrants at risk of violence and led them to subsist in squalid conditions.
Criticism of the Biden administration’s border policies has only sharpened due to new COVID-19 variants and what critics see as a lack of attention from Vice President Kamala Harris, who was assigned to take over the migration issue in March.