Enforcement of the “Remain in Mexico” program, which keeps asylum seekers in Mexico while they await their immigration court hearings across the border, was expanded Monday to San Diego.
The Trump-era policy officially termed “Migrant Protection Protocols” was ended last summer by the new administration, but was reinstated following a federal judge’s order that the program was improperly terminated.
That injunction was upheld by an appeals court, though last week the Biden administration filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to end the program.
Federal officials again began enforcing the policy in Texas last month, and its re-implementation began Monday in San Diego.
The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties issued a statement Monday regarding Remain in Mexico’s local restart, which asked for the Biden administration to end the program permanently.
“We call on President Biden to keep his word and take all actions available to his administration to restore access to asylum at the border,” the statement read. “We urge the administration to permanently re-terminate Remain in Mexico, and immediately rescind all other policies that obstruct access to asylum, including Title 42 — another unjust policy that turns people away at the border under the guise of public health.”
The ACLU and other immigrant rights’ organizations have alleged that the practice has endangered asylum seekers who are forced to wait in Mexico for prolonged periods while their cases progress through the U.S. court system. According to the ACLU, more than 70,000 migrants were sent back to Mexico under the previous administration.
“Re-implementation of this expanded Remain in Mexico program in San Diego will needlessly subject many more people seeking asylum to trauma, suffering and due process violations,” the ACLU said. “The same harms that were well documented under its previous implementation will continue unless Remain in Mexico is brought to a complete end.”
City News Service contributed to this article.