Some asylum seekers who were forced to stay in Mexico under Trump's "Remain in Mexico" plan will be allowed to enter the United States.

Por Alma Sacasa
Febrero 23, 2021

The Biden administration announced that it is reversing the Trump administration program known as "Remain in Mexico" (officially called Migrant Protection Protocols) and will 25 migrants a day into the country. The program, which started in January 2019, required asylum seekers to stay in Mexico until their court hearings, but they will now come through the San Diego port of entry as long as they have active court cases.

The first 25 asylum seekers have tested negative for COVID-19 and were taken to San Diego hotels to quarantine before taking a plane or bus to their final destinations in the U.S., said Michael Hopkins, chief executive officer of Jewish Family Service of San Diego, which is playing a support role as part of a coalition of non-governmental groups called the San Diego Rapid Response Network.

Authorities have the capacity to process up to 300 asylum seekers per day, but Hopkins said it's unclear if they will change the current target of 25. Starting next week, more asylum seekers will be allowed into the U.S. through two Texas ports in El Paso and Brownsville.

Credit: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

The change to the controversial program offers hope for many migrants who endured harsh conditions while awaiting their legal fate. Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán said the program forced people to endure inhumane living conditions while they waited in Mexico.

"About a year ago, I saw in person the inhumane living conditions in an MPP encampment in Matamoros, Mexico," she told LAist. "It was heartbreaking to see the pain, suffering, and danger migrants faced as a result of this un-American policy intended to curb our asylum system."

About 25,000 people have active cases under the "Remain in Mexico" program. Around 70,000 asylum seekers already had their cases dismissed or denied, but U.S. officials have not ruled out the possibility of offering some form of relief for them later on.