MPP Termination Memo is a Step Towards What Advocates and Experts Have Been Demanding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 29, 2021

CONTACT: Bilal Askaryar | press@welcomewithdignity.org | 646-899-9722

 

MPP Termination Memo is a Step Towards What Advocates and Experts Have Been Demanding

A Welcome but Insufficient First Step

 

Washington Today, the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign welcomed the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new memo indicating its intention to terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — a deadly policy, also known as “Remain In Mexico,” that flouted the United States’ obligations to people seeking protection under international asylum law. In the memo, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledges what #WelcomeWithDignity partners have long said. The cost on human life was “intolerable” and there are “inherent problems with the program that no amount of resources can sufficiently fix.” The termination memo comes just two weeks after advocates from the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign walked out of a virtual meeting with administration officials because they refused to be complicit in the implementation of MPP and demanded the administration immediately issue a memo terminating the policy. Shortly after issuing the memo, the administration asked the Fifth Circuit to vacate a flawed lower court ruling that had ordered the resumption of MPP.

 

“I joined a lawsuit challenging MPP because the policy caused me a lot of pain and denied me my right to ask for asylum,” said Gregory*, an asylum seeker subjected to MPP. “I’m glad to hear the government recognize the harm it caused so many like me. It wouldn’t be fair to block asylum seekers from entering the United States. Those of us who fled Central America were in danger in the border area where criminals and narcos prayed on migrants. This intimidation and crime made me very afraid and I hope the government makes sure nobody else has to suffer that again.”

*Name changed to protect anonymity

 

The memo recognizes what we have been telling the President and the DHS Secretary, that there is no way to implement MPP in any safe or legal manner,” said Melina Roche, Campaign Manager.  “Putting people who are seeking safety in harm’s way is not what the U.S. government should be doing and does not conform with the U.S. or international law. The U.S. must reestablish a safe, transparent, accurate, and efficient asylum process and protect those who are seeking safety in our country. So if and when MPP is fully quashed – and that is not fully clear yet –  the Biden administration also has a great deal of work to do to end Title 42, reestablish the asylum system devastated by the previous president, and continue to implement their strategy to address immigration and asylum in a coherent and regional manner to make migration safe, legal and more orderly over time.” 

 

“Reimplementing MPP, while knowing that it does not truly bring solutions and puts people sent to Mexico under MPP at risk of crimes and limbo, is completely inhuman and senseless.” Said Estuardo Cifuentes, Client Services Manager, Project Corazon, Lawyers for Good Government. Cifuentes is currently in MPP and paroled into the US as an open case.

 

“This memorandum, while long overdue, is very welcome as it makes clear the devastating impact the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy has had on tens of thousands of men, women and children who were forced into precarious, life-threatening situations,” said Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney with the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project. “The additional step of moving to vacate the injunction in Texas v. Biden is commendable. Now, the administration must work to fulfill their promise of a fair and humane asylum process by giving everyone affected by this policy a meaningful opportunity to present their claims for asylum or other relief.”

 

“This memo, which immigrant communities and advocates have demanded for months, is a welcomed step towards restoring asylum at the border and building a fair, humane, and orderly process,” said Karen Tumlin, founder and director of Justice Action Center. “However, what matters most is that policy changes like these translate into tangible relief and safety for asylum seekers. The administration must move swiftly to process endangered asylum seekers currently stranded in Mexico due to MPP,  undo hundreds of cases of unaccompanied children, and end Title42, in order to restore asylum at the border.”

 

“We are glad that the administration has finally heeded the calls of the immigrant rights community and is taking steps to end the MPP once and for all,” said Blaine Bookey, Legal Director at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “There is no safe, fair, or legal way to reinstate a policy designed to deprive asylum seekers of their rights. We hope the administration’s acknowledgment of the devastating harms caused by MPP will be followed by concrete action to restore asylum processing at the southern border. Not one more person should be placed in MPP and expulsions under Title 42, which expose asylum seekers to the very same dangers, must end.”

 

 

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign is composed of more than 90 national and regional organizations committed to transforming the way the United States receives and protects people forced to flee their homes to ensure they are treated humanely and fairly. To learn more and join our campaign visit: welcomewithdignity.org

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