UPDATE: Immigration Advocates Praise New DHS Efforts To End ‘Stay In Mexico’


WASHINGTON (CNS) – US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas submitted a lengthy document on Oct. 29 that he hopes will lead to the eventual end of a policy to keep asylum seekers at home. United States on the Mexican side of the southern border until their cases are heard.

“This administration is addressing the longstanding issues that have plagued our immigration system for decades in order to effect the necessary systemic change. The MPP does not help achieve this goal, ”Mayorkas wrote, referring to migrant protection protocols, commonly referred to as MPP.

The policy, also known as “Stay in Mexico,” was put in place under the Trump administration. Biden administration officials attempted to end it in June this year.

However, a U.S. District Court judge for the North Texas District in August told administration officials to continue to comply with the policy, saying they did not end it properly.

The United States Supreme Court upheld the judge’s ruling and ordered the Biden administration to restore it. The administration had started taking steps to do so in mid-November.

But Mayorkas extensively explained in the new document the administration’s justification for wanting to end the policy, adding that “no amount of resources” can solve the problems it presents.

“The MPP had endemic flaws, imposed unjustifiable human costs, diverted resources and personnel from other priority efforts, and failed to address the root causes of irregular migration,” he said.

“The MPP not only reduces the administration’s ability to implement essential and fundamental changes to the immigration system,” he added, “it fails to provide fair process and humanitarian protections that individuals deserve under the law “.

Catholic groups, including bishops, who work with the migrants have opposed the administration’s position that it had no choice but to continue to implement the policy on the basis of the judge’s orders. .

In an Oct. 29 press release, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network said the Homeland Security Department’s document, called a memo, came after “repeated and urgent calls from immigrant rights lawyers and legal experts for the administration to use its authority to terminate the program. “

“As an organization founded on Catholic social education, our message to the administration has been clear: People who flee to protect their lives and the lives of their families have the right to seek asylum in the United States. It is our legal and moral duty to welcome them and offer them hospitality, ”said Anna Gallagher, Executive Director of the CLINIC.

“We are grateful that the administration is taking further steps to reverse this degrading and potentially deadly policy,” she said. “We look forward to working closely with the administration and our partners to ensure that our immigrant brothers and sisters are received with dignity. “

The Jesuit Refugee Service in the United States has also expressed support for this decision.

“This policy has caused untold harm to thousands of asylum seekers and has functionally suspended the regular asylum process since its first implementation in 2019,” said Giulia McPherson, director of advocacy and operations at the organization.

“By releasing this new memo, the Biden administration takes another important step by overturning an August court ruling that reinstated the MPP after trying to end the program earlier this year,” she said. . “We urge the Biden administration to continue its efforts to end the MPP and to take all possible measures to oppose the reinstatement of this damaging policy.”

On its website, DHS says the administration “remains subject to a court order requiring it to reapply the MPP in good faith, which it will respect even if it continues to vigorously challenge the decision.”

Officials in the Biden administration are continuing talks with Mexico, which must cooperate in welcoming migrants to its territory.

“As part of these efforts, DHS is engaged in ongoing, high-level discussions with (the) Mexican government and has contracted for the construction of temporary court facilities in Texas. The MPP, however, cannot be reimplemented unless and until the Mexican government makes an independent decision to accept returns under the program, ”DHS said on its website.

“The termination of the MPP will only take effect when the current injunction is lifted,” he added.

The chairman of the US Bishops Committee on Migration also praised the administration’s new action to end the MPP, “in view of the well-documented prejudices and injustices,” he said, as the policy has caused.

“We pray that this unfortunate chapter in American history will finally come to an end,” Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington said in a Nov. 2 statement.

He noted that earlier this year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops filed a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that the MPP violates national and international law, as well as to Catholic social education.

Bishop Dorsonville also urged the Biden administration to end the use of Title 42, a provision of US health policy enforced under the Trump administration that turns some immigrants back to the border as part of public health measures to contain the coronavirus.

“While Catholic social teaching affirms the right of a sovereign nation to regulate its borders, the Church’s commitment to the sanctity of human life transcends these borders. It is possible to maintain the borders with justice and mercy, ”said the bishop.

“We must work towards an immigration system that better promotes human dignity, not only for the benefit of those seeking protection, but for the common good, on which we all depend,” he added.

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