The Biden administration is expected to announce the official resumption of the “Remain in Mexico” policy Thursday after reaching an agreement with the Mexican government, according to a new report.
One week after reports emerged that the White House would soon reinstate the policy while simultaneously attempting to end it, two US officials and a Mexican government official told the Washington Post late Wednesday that a deal was done.
The policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols and implemented in 2019, requires asylum seekers attempting to enter the US by crossing the southern border to wait in Mexico until their cases are heard.
One official told the Washington Post that the renewed version of “Remain in Mexico” will be “fairly close to the previous version.”
One change will be the offering of COVID-19 vaccines to all migrant adults, though the jabs are not required and it is unclear at what point in the asylum process they would be given. The Biden administration reportedly still plans to use its Title 42 health authority to rapidly expel illegal border crossers.
According to the report, the US plans to use the program for single adults rather than unaccompanied minors or family units. As part of the new agreement, Mexico will reportedly accept asylum seekers from Spanish-speaking countries.
President Biden initially suspended the “Remain in Mexico” policy hours after taking office in January. At the beginning of June, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a memo formally winding up the protocols.
In August, however, Texas US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled the administration must make a “good faith” effort to reinstate the policy and enforce it until it had been properly rescinded and immigration officials had enough space to hold all detained illegal immigrants.
The Biden administration tried again to end the program again last month, while acknowledging the policy “likely contributed to reduced migratory flows.”
Mayorkas has said DHS will comply with Kacsmaryk’s ruling, but noted in a memo that his Department sees “inherent problems with the program that no amount of resources can sufficiently fix.”
One official told the Washington Post that temporary “tent courts” have been under construction in the Texas cities of Brownsville and Laredo but will likely not be ready to hold asylum hearings until next week.
In an interview on “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning, Trump said he felt no vindication by the reinstatement of the policy.
“No, because I want to see good for the country, Brian. It’s so important to me. I want to see good for the country,” Trump told co-host Brian Kilmeade. “There’s no gratification. What they’re doing is destroying our country. Our country is being destroyed before your very eyes, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Trump slammed Biden’s immigration policies as “a disaster.”
“We have millions of people flowing across, and we’re not even talking about the China virus or COVID, whatever you want to call it. We’re talking about many other diseases coming over the border, that are far worse, coming over the border,” he said. “Nobody’s being tested, nobody’s being checked. Prisoners of other countries are being dumped in our country. We’re like a dumping ground.”