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Biden administration resumes immigration program during Trump presidency

The administration of the current head of the White House, Joe Biden, has resumed the program during the presidency of Donald Trump. Now, potential asylum seekers who cross the southern US border will be sent to Mexico to await court decisions. Writes about it with the BBC.

Photo: Shutterstock

The US and Mexican governments announced on December 2 that they would reinstate a Trump-era policy known as "Stay in Mexico."

Earlier, US President Joe Biden suspended the program, calling it "inhuman."

President Donald Trump used a program then known as the Migrant Protection Protocols to send over 60 asylum seekers back to Mexico.

Immigrants were often forced to wait for months in Mexico, where they sometimes fell victim to criminal gangs. According to the charity Human Rights First, there have been more than 1500 cases of kidnapping, rape, torture and other crimes against immigrants who have returned to Mexico.

Biden put the program on hold almost immediately after taking office as part of a campaign promise to change the tough immigration policy imposed by his predecessor. In June, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mallorcas, terminated the rule.

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The program's resurgence follows an August ruling by Trump-appointed federal court judge Matthew Kachmarik, who found that the Biden administration had improperly canceled it earlier.

When asked about the resumption of the program, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said both Biden and Mallorcas adhere to previous statements describing the idea as a program with "endemic deficiencies and unnecessary loss of life."

“But we believe in keeping the law,” she said.

The revitalized program includes new steps to address Mexico's human rights concerns.

Under Mexican leadership, the United States will now include COVID-19 vaccinations for immigrants and expanded benefits such as those with physical and mental health problems. In addition, at the request of Mexico, the United States agreed to limit the time spent on each asylum seeker to six months.

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The Mexican government has declared its commitment to the health and safety of immigrants.

The administration appealed the decision of Judge Kachmarik, but was required by law to comply with the decision. Judge Kaczmarik acknowledged that the program can only be implemented with the consent of Mexico, and this prompted months of negotiations between the two countries.

Implementation is expected to begin next week, first in El Paso and Brownsville, Texas, and San Diego, California.

The move was met with criticism from the pro-immigration American Immigration Board, based in Washington.

“We categorically reject claims from the Biden administration that it can manage the Stay in Mexico program in a more humane manner,” the group said in a statement. "Today is a dark day for the United States and for the rule of law."

Finally, they summarized that by expanding the program to include any immigrant from the Western Hemisphere, including non-Spanish-speaking groups such as Haitians, Biden "made the program even wider than it was under Trump." That is, now they will send even more immigrants to Mexico than under Trump.

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