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‘Biden Ends Policy Forcing Asylum-Seekers to ‘Remain in Mexico’–But for 41,247 Migrants, It’s Too Late
Austin Kocher, research associate professor with the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), wrote an op-ed for The Conversation titled “Biden ends policy forcing asylum-seekers to ‘remain in Mexico’ – but for 41,247 migrants, it’s too late.” TRAC uses Freedom of Information Act requests to study the federal government, focusing particularly on matters of immigration.
Kocher explains that during the Trump administration, the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) policy was established, which effectively detained tens of thousands of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. Commonly known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, MPP forced detained migrants back into Mexico to file for asylum rather than allowing them into the U.S.
While the policy’s name may come across as a safety measure, Kocher says that MPP really created a refugee crisis in Mexico. Kocher says that the lack of resources along the border led to the setup of many tent camps and Catholic shelters where migrants tried to safely wait while their cases were evaluated. President Biden suspended the Migrant Protection Protocols on his first day in office, allowing more than 15,000 migrants into the U.S. after being stuck in tent camps in Mexico. However, Kocher says that the border still “reopened too late for most of the 41,247 migrants whose cases were rejected while they remained in Mexico.”
TRAC research shows that during the MPP era, only 641 migrants were granted asylum, a rate of 1.5 percent. Compared to 40 percent of asylum-seekers having their cases granted before MPP, Kocher says the policy was extremely detrimental for those seeking asylum in the U.S. Kocher writes that not only did MPP reduce migrants’ chances of being granted asylum, but it often forced people into dangerous and life-threatening situations, including rape, torture, kidnapping and involvement with drug cartels in northern Mexico.
Kocher says that migrants had a difficult choice at hand during MPP, and that was to either stay in the camps with hopes of winning their case or lose their chance. For some, Kocher says the risk paid off. But for others, there will be no second chance, Kocher concludes.
To read his essay in its entirety, visit The Conversation.
Syracuse University media relations team members work regularly with the campus community to secure placements of op-eds. Anyone interested in writing an op-ed should first review the University’s op-ed guidelines and email email@example.com.