Thousands of migrants returned to Mexico under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy have given up their asylum claims, with many of them returning home, according to statistics included in a new assessment of the policy released this week by the Department of Homeland Security.
The policy, known formally as the Migrant Protection Protocols, sends migrants seeking asylum at the southern border back to Mexico for the duration of immigration proceedings. It is a cornerstone of the administration’s efforts to end “catch and release,” by which migrants are released into the U.S. while their cases are heard.
Hearings have been held in border towns such as Laredo, Texas, where temporary courtrooms have been set up by the border and migrants are put in front of a judge via video conference.
So far, the administration has returned more than 55,000 migrants to Mexico. The assessment describes the policy as an “indispensable tool in addressing the ongoing crisis at the southern border and restoring integrity to the immigration system.” It says that it has completed almost 13,000 cases as of Oct. 21.
The new assessment, significantly, cites estimates from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that approximately 20,000 migrants are currently being sheltered in Mexico near the U.S. border as they still seek entry to the U.S. The assessment says that number, though, suggests “a significant proportion of the 55,000+ MPP returnees have chosen to abandon their claims.”
The report notes that the work of the International Organization of Migration, supported in part by the U.S. government, is helping migrants return home for free if they choose to do so. It says that as of October, almost 900 migrants have participated in that program. – READ MORE