Mexico on Thursday agreed to allow the United States to reinstate its “remain in Mexico” policy, which requires asylum-seekers to remain across the border while their claims are processed, The New York Times reports.
Former President Donald Trump implemented the policy during his crackdown on legal immigration to the United States, separate from his policies targeting illegal border crossing.
Biden ended the policy after taking office but the Supreme Court ordered the administration to reinstate the policy, ruling that the administration did not follow proper protocol in ending the rule.
But restarting the policy required cooperation from Mexico, which had resisted agreeing to hold migrants while their claims are processed in the United States.
The Biden administration said Thursday that it has reached an agreement with Mexico and will restart the policy on Monday.
US agrees to speed up asylum claims:
Under the new deal, the United States agreed to Mexico’s request to limit immigration proceedings to six months per application. During the Trump administration, proceedings could stretch for years.
The US also agreed to mostly require single adults to remain in Mexico rather than migrant families with young children.
The US also vowed to improve access to lawyers for migrants who claim a credible fear of returning to Mexico.
The US will also offer Covid vaccines to asylum seekers who are forced to stay in Mexico.
Critics say that the policy has forced thousands of migrants into unsanitary tent camps along the border where they face the threat of rape, kidnapping, torture, and murder.
“This is a disaster waiting to happen,” tweeted Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, a policy counsel at the American Immigration Council.
He noted that the Biden administration’s agreement also says that “all individuals from the Western Hemisphere will be eligible to be sent to Mexico.”
“The Biden administration's choice to expand Remain in Mexico to everyone from the Western Hemisphere—including Haitians—makes the program even broader than it ever was under the Trump administration,” he wrote. “Biden didn't just bring back Remain in Mexico. He's made it even worse.”