President Biden is making good on another campaign promise, moving to end Donald Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy blocking asylum-seekers from coming into the U.S. while their cases are under consideration. Like so many ways Trump inflicted damage, though, this will take longer to fix than it did to break, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
The “Migrant Protection Protocols” were put in place in 2019 and have already forced more than 65,000 asylum-seekers to either wait in Mexico for their U.S. court hearings, or to seek safety elsewhere. The Biden administration will begin to process around 25,000 active claims next week, Reuters reports.
That said, the process is going to go slowly, with migrants registering with designated international organizations, being tested for COVID-19 in Mexico, and having their claims heard at just three ports of entry.
“Individuals who are not eligible under this initial phase should wait for further instructions and not travel to the border,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “Due to the current pandemic, restrictions at the border remain in place and will be enforced.”
Undoing any single part of the damage Trump did on immigration—and there are so many parts—is going to take time. As with so many things, the full measure of change that’s needed will have to come from Congress. But Biden is starting the job.
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