Recommendations to End “Remain in Mexico” and Bring People Seeking Protection Safely into the United States
On January 20, 2021, the Biden Administration announced the “suspension of new enrollments” in the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) also known as “Remain in Mexico.” Under the policy, the Trump Administration forcibly returned thousands of people seeking U.S. humanitarian protection to dangerous regions of Mexico to await U.S. immigration court hearings. Many were assaulted, kidnapped, raped, and tortured in Mexico. Human Rights First has tracked at least 1,314 public reports of violent attacks against people subjected to MPP. Violence against individuals returned to Mexico – under MPP and other Trump Administration policies to block and expel asylum seekers and children at the border – continues to escalate, as detailed in a December 2020 Human Rights First report.
While the suspension of new enrollments in MPP is a critical first step, thousands of individuals with pending MPP cases remain in danger; including approximately 7,000 Cubans, 4,000 Hondurans, 2,000 Guatemalans, 1,500 Salvadorans, 1,500 Venezuelans, and 1,000 Nicaraguans; among others. Nearly 70 percent of people in MPP with pending cases have now been waiting in Mexico for one year or more. As of late January 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to refuse to remove individuals and families from MPP who have been raped or subjected to other violent attacks in Mexico.
To fully and finally end the horrors inflicted by MPP and to restart the reception of people seeking safety at the southern border, DHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ) should: