By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in an Oct. 14 court filing they were ready to begin implementing once again a Trump-era immigration policy with which they disagree — the Migrant Protection Protocols, also called “Remain in Mexico” or MPP policy.
The officials said it could be reinstated as early as November, pending negotiations with the Mexican government, which needs to approve the terms.
The MPP policy forced migrants looking for asylum in the United States to stay on the Mexico side of the U.S. southern border until their cases could be adjudicated in U.S. immigration courts.
As soon as he became president in January, Joe Biden paused the policy, formally seeking its end in June. But in August, a judge with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas told administration officials to continue complying with the Trump-era policy, saying they had not ended it properly.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the judge’s ruling.
Caught between the court order and criticism from immigration advocates, DHS officials said they would continue to seek the end of MPP, but were, at the moment, “taking necessary steps to comply with the court order, which requires us to reimplement MPP in good faith.”
However, DHS said it needs the participation of the Mexican government to go forward since migrants would be dropped on another country’s territory.
“Mexico is a sovereign nation that must make an independent decision to accept the return of individuals pursuant to any reimplementation of MPP,” DHS said in an Oct. 15 tweet. “That decision has not been made. Discussions with the government of Mexico are ongoing.”
Though Biden administration officials said they will continue to appeal to lower courts to try to end MPP and consider it “inhumane,” the document filed with the District Court says they anticipated “being in a position to reimplement” the policy by mid-November.
On Twitter, DHS said that “separately, as announced previously, DHS also will be issuing a memo terminating MPP in which it will address concerns about the prior memo that sought to terminate MPP. This new memo terminating MPP will not, however, take effect until the current injunction is lifted.”