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Over 8,000 Asylum Seekers Excluded Under the Trump Administration Permitted to Enter the Country Under Biden
New data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University shows that the Biden administration is allowing asylum-seekers into the United States. A Trump-era program known as the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP) forced asylum-seekers along the U.S.-Mexico border to wait for their hearings in dangerous parts of northern Mexico. The Biden administration is allowing many of those people to enter the country to pursue their asylum claims.
A new report from TRAC based on the government’s own data shows that nearly a third of all of these cases have now been allowed into the United States. In total, 8,387 individuals forced to remain in Mexico under MPP have been allowed into the country by the end of April 2021. This is an acceleration from the end of March when TRAC found that 3,911 migrants had been allowed in by the end of March 2021.
Highlights from the report include:
- Overall, 32% of all people with pending MPP cases have been allowed into the country.
- Not all ports of entry along the border are equal. Nearly half (44%) of the pending cases from Brownsville, Texas, have been allowed into the country while 20% of cases in Calexico have.
- About half of the asylum-seekers from Venezuela (51%) and Cuba (46%) have been allowed into the country so far. Only 4% of asylum-seekers from Ecuador have entered even though they represent the fourth largest group of asylum-seekers with 2,557 pending cases.
- Just 9% of migrants still in Mexico have an attorney. This doubles to 19% for migrants who have entered the country since Biden took office.
- Nearly one-third (31%) of all MPP cases allowed into the country went to immigration courts in Miami and Orlando, Florida. Other top courts include courts in Texas (Dallas, San Antonio and Houston); Atlanta, Georgia; Los Angeles, California; and Arlington, Virginia.
- 18,087 individuals with pending asylum cases have not yet entered the country.
Austin Kocher is an assistant professor and researcher at TRAC, a research institute that uses Freedom of Information Act requests to study the federal government. Key areas of Kocher’s current research at TRAC include federal immigration detention, enforcement and deportation, the immigration court system, and trends within the federal criminal and civil courts.
Kocher, who worked on the report, says, “My main takeaway from this report is just how many invisible inequalities exist with the immigration system. Seeking asylum in the United States may seem like a straightforward process of coming and asking for sanctuary. But what we continue to see in the data is that people often experience the system very differently depending on where they are from or which court they are assigned to when they arrive. In many ways, asylum is not one single process but rather a lot of little processes that depend not just on the law but on who you are.”
TRAC is a data gathering, data research and data distribution organization at Syracuse University. The purpose of TRAC is to provide the American people—and institutions of oversight such as Congress, news organizations, public interest groups, businesses, scholars and lawyers—with comprehensive information about staffing, spending and enforcement activities of the federal government
For members of the media seeking to request an interview with TRAC researchers, please contact:
Joshua M. Grossman ’03
Director of Media Relations, Division of Communications and Marketing
T 202.227.9250 | firstname.lastname@example.org