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Home / Press Release / Human Rights First Welcomes Further ‘Remain in Mexico’ Wind Down
June 22, 2021

Human Rights First Welcomes Further ‘Remain in Mexico’ Wind Down

More Needed to Protect Asylum Seekers Subjected to the Illegal Policy

WASHINGTON -- Today, the Biden administration indicated it would take additional steps that would bring to safety additional asylum seekers subjected to the Trump administration’s “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP). Human Rights First welcomed these steps and urged additional action to protect people who were denied asylum under that flawed policy, as well as end other illegal Trump administration policies.

“This welcome step will provide access to asylum for MPP victims who were unable to attend hearings in this flawed process, in many cases due to acute dangers, kidnappings or other impediments,” said Eleanor Acer, Senior Director of Refugee Protection at Human Rights First. “Looking forward, the Biden administration should also quickly move ahead to provide access to MPP processing for asylum seekers who were denied asylum under this rigged program. MPP proceedings were plagued by due process violations, barriers to legal representation and wrongful denials due to unlawful or now rescinded Trump administration policies.” 

Human Rights First conducted extensive field research and issued multiple reports on the kidnappings, attacks and other harms resulting from the Trump administration’s MPP program – including reports issued in March 2019, August 2019, October 2019, December 2019, May 2020, and December 2020. The organization tracked over 1500 kidnappings and attacks on asylum seekers subjected to MPP. 

Human Rights First’s recommendations for ending MPP were outlined in this blueprint and short paper. In March and May 2021, Human Rights First and many other organizations wrote to the Biden administration to urge specific steps to wind down MPP.  In their May 2021 letter, NGOs urged that “[t]he next phase of the wind-down of MPP must include all individuals subjected to this horrific, illegal policy, including those who received in absentia removal orders, had their cases terminated, were unfairly denied protection (whether or not their cases are on appeal), or have ‘inactive’ cases caused by government procedural errors.” 

“In addition to continuing to wind-down the harmful MPP policy, the Biden administration must also end other illegal Trump administration policies that endanger asylum seekers, including Trump-era asylum entry and transit bans, deprivations of work authorization and the use of Title 42 public health authority to evade U.S. refugee law, blocking and expelling asylum seekers to danger,” said Acer.