EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A policy that forced tens of thousands of Central American asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for U.S. court cases has officially ended.
Shortly after taking office on Jan. 20, the Biden administration pushed the pause button on the program known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Since then, more than 11,000 MPP migrants have been allowed to enter the U.S. in search of asylum claims.
“Over 70,000 cases, over 70,000 people, were affected by this program and this is a program that we’ve been following very closely,” said Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) researcher Austin Kocher. “Those individuals were in the deportation process even though they were not physically inside the United States, but we were able — because we have such an enormous wealth of data here — we were able to find those cases, identify them and make sure that the public had a consistent record each month of just how many people it was affecting.”
Records show that more than 42,000 cases were already closed by the time the Biden administration took office.
As of Tuesday, records show 25,000 to 30,000 cases still remain, with many asylum-seekers waiting in border cities like Juarez.
The MPP decision comes after an executive order calling for U.S. agencies to review the program that was first launched in 2019. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday formally announced the end of the MPP program and, in a statement, said the program did not “adequately or sustainably enhance border management.”
Meanwhile here in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbot issued a disaster declaration along the Texas southern border to combat what he called a “border crisis.”
However, some local leaders say Abbott’s statements about the border are untrue and the disaster declaration is just another fear tactic.