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Biden administration opens gateway to 25,000 asylum seekers
President Joe Biden on day one in office reversed the Migrant Protection Protocols programme
The Biden administration on Friday said it would allow tens of thousands of asylum-seekers waiting in Mexico. An estimated 25,000 of them are awaiting their next immigration court hearings to be allowed into the United States while their cases proceed. The active cases will be allowed in the US on February 19.
The authorities have said they would process up to 300 people each day, divided into two border crossings and a third crossing taking fewer people, an AP report reads.
Former president Donal Trump had moved aggressively to prevent immigrants from entering the US, exposing immigrants to violence in Mexican border cities. It made it difficult for them to
find lawyers and communicate with courts about their cases.
Homeland Security said the move “shouldn’t be interpreted as an opening for people to migrate irregularly to the United States.” “This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation’s values,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.
President Joe Biden on day one in office reversed the Migrant Protection Protocols programme, enacted in 2019, that deterred would-be asylum seekers from coming to the US. The programme also required them to enter through the southern border and wait in Mexico while their cases were being heard by US immigration courts.
Administration officials have said that since the pandemic struck in March 2020, a vast majority of people who cross the border illegally are quickly expelled under a public health order in place. However, releases of some asylum-seeking families in Texas and California have worked against that messaging. Part of safe and orderly processing of migrants seeking to enter the US includes testing them for COVID-19.
Prosecutors argue on behalf of asylum seekers who have been denied or rejected, that communication problems, including lack of working addresses in Mexico, caused some to miss hearings and lose their cases.