EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The U.S. today returned the largest group of asylum seekers to Mexico since the Biden administration restarted the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection late Friday morning handed over 20 adult males to Mexican immigration officials in the middle of the Stanton Street Bridge linking Downtown El Paso to Juarez, Mexico, members of human rights organizations reported.
CBP on Wednesday walked the first two asylum seekers – a Nicaraguan and a Colombian – over to Mexico under the Biden administration and on Thursday handed over six citizens of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.
Juarez Human Rights Office Director Santiago Rodriguez told Border Report Mexico will be receiving a maximum of 35 migrants per day. The migrants are processed inside a tent city on the Mexican side of the Stanton Street Bridge and then taken to a government shelter.
Dozens of asylum seekers from Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean have been trying to file asylum claims at U.S. ports of entry but say they have been told the border is closed. As a result of these, several migrant and migrant families in Juarez and thousands more at the Sonora-Arizona border have crossed illegally to stake a claim once apprehended on the U.S. side.
On Friday in Chihuahua City – which is a three-hour drive south of the border – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Mexico is committed to protecting third-country migrants expelled from the United States or placed on MPP, also known as “Remain in Mexico.”
“It’s a program that will continue to (require) Mexico to care for migrants, and we will continue to do it. But we’re talking about migration flows of thousands of people, so we need to take care of the problem in originating communities so that people don’t have to migrate,” Lopez Obrador said.
He urged President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “accept the reality” that their countries need foreign labor.
“They don’t have (enough) labor. Why not regulate, bring order to the migrant flow? Why not implement – immediately – a temporary worker visa program?” Lopez Obrador said.
The president of Mexico said he’s aware Biden backed an immigration reform bill but was stymied by politics. He said Mexico respects U.S. sovereignty but will watch out for the well-being of the 38 million people of Mexican descent living in the United States.
He added that migration flows aren’t solved through “coercion” but by investing in jobs and social programs in Central America.