Alba Jaramillo, executive director for Arizona Justice for Our Neighbors and advocacy consultant with National Justice for Our Neighbors, released the following statement responding to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formally ending the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico Program”:
The MPP program was unconscionable and an absolute assault on human rights. Since its implementation in 2018, almost 70,000 people were impacted by this horrific policy, with as many as1,300 asylum seekers kidnapped, raped, tortured, and murdered as a direct result of being forced to remain in Mexico.
National Justice for Our Neighbors supports the Biden administration’s termination of MPP, but demands further accountability to those harmed by the highly-flawed policy. We welcome a wind-down plan from the administration that accounts for all individuals harmed by MPP’s severe due process violations, including those issued in absentia removal orders or final orders of removal, or whose cases were otherwise terminated.
Should the administration move forward with the creation of Dedicated Docket to process asylum seekers, we demand sufficient funding to legal service providers to competently represent asylum claims. Merely providing legal information and referrals to pro-bono attorneys is insufficient for asylum seekers to achieve actual due process in their case.
The termination of MPP is one step towards restoring our broken asylum system, but it is not enough. The ongoing and illegal Title 42 expulsions damage public health, exacerbate threats to migrants in Mexican border towns, and cause thousands of family separations that endanger the lives of migrant children. The administration’s continued use of this Trump-era policy delivers asylum seekers to the very same dangers and harms they were subjected to under MPP.
The border community of El Paso, Texas, has also been tremendously impacted by the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Toddy Curry, board chair of El Paso JFON, shares with us this brief statement:
The dissolution of MPP represents a significant change in the immigration climate here on the border. It must be celebrated as a positive development. However, just in the El Paso region, almost 5,000 teens age 12-17 are currently being held at Fort Bliss, CBP (Customs and Border Protection) is moving forward on building a second processing center in El Paso, continuing its extremely questionable policy of child detention, and the Otero County Processing Center, a privately-run ICE facility with years of documented human rights abuses, continues to operate with little to no oversite.
So yes, it is great that MPP has ended. But let’s not forget, MPP was just one part of a failed approach to immigration policy that crosses numerous presidential administrations, and El Paso, as well as many other border communities, continue to be ground zero for a widespread generational trauma.