republicworld– The Biden administration on February 12 announced plans for tens of thousands of asylum seekers waiting in Mexico for their next immigration court hearings to be allowed in the US while their cases proceed. According to AP, the officials said that the first of an estimated 25,000 asylum-seekers in Mexico with active cases will be allowed in the US on February 19. The administration plans to start slowly with two border crossings each processing up to 300 people a day and third crossing taking fewer.
The latest move is a major step toward dismantling one of former President Donald Trump’s most consequential policies to deter asylum-seekers from coming to the US. As per reports, nearly 70,000 asylum-seekers were enrolled in ‘Remain in Mexico’, officially called Migrant Protection Protocols, since it was introduced in January 2019. As Biden took office on January 20, the Homeland Security Department suspended the policy for new arrivals. Since then, some asylum picked up at the border have been released in the US with notices to appear in court.
The latest action is also another step in US’ commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with the nation’s values. Homeland Security said that the move should not be interpreted as an opening for people to migrate irregularly to the US. The Biden administration has even said that the vast majority of people who cross the border illegally are quickly expelled under a public health order in place since the pandemic struck in March 2020, but releases of some asylum-seeking families in Texas and California have worked against that messaging.
On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that she was concerned that limited releases in the US may encourage others to cross illegally because we don’t want people to put themselves in danger at a time where it is not the right time to come because we have not had time to put in place a humane and moral system and process. Homeland Security also said that it would soon announce a virtual registration process available online and by phone for people to learn where and when they should report. Further, officials urged asylum-seekers not to report to the border unless instructed.
Biden to mitigate crisis
Meanwhile, soon after taking office, Biden vowed to mitigate the harshness meted out to migrants and asylum seekers from Central America. Last month, the American leader talked to his Mexican counterpart where he promised to establish a more humanitarian migration system and undo Trump’s moves including his ambitious Border Wall. However, experts have warned that if not managed properly, softening of immigration rules could lead to an influx of migrants in the US sabotaging Biden’s latest decision.
Last week, Biden ordered a major review of asylum processing at the US-Mexico border and legal immigration system as he seeks to undo former President Donald Trump’s policies. While speaking to media reporters on a conference call, two senior administration officials said that the newly minted President will create a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated at the US-Mexico border by Trump’s 2018 “zero-tolerance” border strategy.