Migrants stranded on the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border reacted on Thursday to an early announcement from the US government to reinstate a policy requiring them to stay in Mexico as they await immigration hearings.
The Biden administration and the Department of Homeland security acted to comply with a court order to reinstate the Trump-era policy and agreed to Mexico’s conditions for resuming it.
About 70,000 asylum-seekers have been subject to the policy, which then-President Donald Trump introduced in January 2019 and which Biden suspended on his first day in office.
Asylum-seekers were victims of major violence while waiting in Mexico and faced a slew of legal obstacles, such as access to attorneys and case information.
Honduran migrant Juan Alberto Madrid Martínez, 50, has been at the migrant camp next to the Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana for five months.
This is the second time he made the journey to the United States border.
He was robbed three times in Mexico during his first trip.
“The MPP program is not a good program, because that program means to stay in Mexico,” said Madrid.
“I didn’t come to stay in Mexico.”
Sara María Halcón Watson, from El Salvador, had her first asylum interview seven months ago.
She has been waiting at the camp since then. She is not hopeful after not seeing any change in policy.
Chatting outside the camp with other migrants, 32-year-old Josué Fernando Maldonado, told the AP he has grown tired of waiting in Mexico.
He now waits to be deported back to Honduras.
A revival of the “Remain in Mexico” policy comes even as the Biden administration maneuvers to end it in a way that survives legal scrutiny.
Biden scrapped the policy, but a lawsuit by Texas and Missouri forced him to put it back into effect, subject to Mexico’s acceptance.
Migrants are expected to be returned starting Monday in one border city, which has not been identified
It will eventually be done in seven locations: San Diego and Calexico in California; Nogales, Arizona; and the Texas border cities of Brownsville, Eagle Pass, El Paso and Laredo.