Pulling down the wall on migration: Biden’s roll back of Trump’s MPP policy
As one of Biden’s most pressing campaign aims, the new man of the Oval office is delivering on reversing some of the most harmful Trump immigration policies.
Amongst one of former US president Donald Trump’s more controversial additions to American Policy was the MPP (Migration Protection Protocol), also referred to as the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program. Displacing approximately 70,000 Mexicans when introduced in January 2019, the policy essentially banished asylum seekers to refugee camps in some of the most dangerous parts of Mexico.
However, this dubious legislative human rights breach now has its days numbered, as Biden began the roll back of Trump’s restrictive border policies early this February. In his own words, he is “not making new law; [he’s] eliminating bad policy”. Suspending the MPP, Biden’s amendment to policy allows asylum seekers to now remain in the US whilst they await the lengthy trial and rehoming process, rather than being displaced in refugee camps along Mexico’s border.
Situated in the most dangerous parts of Mexico and rife with crime, ‘Raises’ Humanitarian group reported 816 cases of murder, rape, torture and kidnapping within these refugee camps in the first month of their creation alone. Many have been living in these camps since Trump put an ‘indefinite freeze’ on their visa cases.
So, what are Biden’s next steps, and what will this mean for those displaced? Biden has not ended MPP completely but has suspended it and ceased enrolling people within it. The programmes roll-back which began only two weeks ago, plans to begin processing and admitting to the US twenty-five asylum seekers daily, with a planned slow increase to three hundred a day over the next few weeks.
[He’s] not making new law; [he’s] eliminating bad policy.
Despite his loss of public office, Trump continues to stay ever vocal in border affairs. In a statement on 5 March he condemned Biden for a ‘spiralling tsunami’ of migrants now entering the country, describing it as a ‘mass incursion’ of ‘criminals’. Although this is a largely positive step for US immigration, it must be acknowledged that there is a long way to go. The damage of a restrictive border policy is a slow process to undo, and Biden is already facing backlash for the mass influx at the border, having to slow the process and issue a statement of “we’re not saying don’t come, we’re saying don’t come now” (Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security).
It has been a month and a half since President Biden’s White House press release where he signed executive orders to strengthen US immigration system. “I’m Restoring Faith in our Legal Immigration System and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans” he stated. Trump’s legacy will undoubtedly linger, in America’s attitude to those seeking refuge, and in the individuals whose lives have been set back. Only time will tell how successful Biden will be in pulling down the wall that the Trump-Era has built.