Biden administration to allow 25,000 migrants waiting in Mexico to enter U.S.

They have been in Mexico under the "remain in Mexico" policy established by the Trump administration and the Mexican government

Updated: February 12, 2021 - 6:47pm

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The Biden administration's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Friday that starting Feb. 19, they will begin allowing tens of thousands of migrants from Central America who have been required to wait in Mexico to come into the U.S. for processing. 

According to a DHS press release, "DHS will begin processing people who had been forced to 'remain in Mexico' under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Approximately 25,000 individuals in MPP continue to have active cases." 

The "remain in Mexico" policy was an agreement reached between the Trump administration and the Mexican government in response to the 2019 surge of people attempting to cross the border into the U.S. The purpose and effect of the policy was to disincentivize more people from traveling to the border with hopes of illegally crossing into the U.S.

DHS issued a caution that the move "should not be interpreted as an opening for people to migrate irregularly to the United States." 

The new policy does not apply to asylum-seekers who had been returned to Mexico without active court dates or to the more than 75,000 people who were caught in January coming into the country illegally. 

"As President Biden has made clear, the U.S. government is committed to rebuilding a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system," said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, according to the DHS press release. "This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation's values…Due to the current pandemic, restrictions at the border remain in place and will be enforced."