Asylum seekers with cases closed under Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ program can enter the U.S. to pursue claims

Asylum-seeking families with their children have stayed in tents while waiting for their names to be called at the border in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico.

Asylum seekers under the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy whose cases were closed — many for reasons beyond their control, including kidnappings and court rulings against the government — will now be able to come into the U.S. to pursue asylum claims, the Biden administration said Tuesday.

The administration on Wednesday will begin to allow the first of thousands with closed cases to pursue their asylum claims within the United States, the Department of Homeland Security announced. More than 30,000 migrants could potentially be eligible, according to government data.

“As part of our continued effort to restore safe, orderly, and humane processing at the Southwest Border, DHS will expand the pool” of asylum seekers eligible for processing, the department said in a statement, including those “who had their cases terminated or were ordered removed in absentia.”

Facing a policy riddled with administrative errors and questions of illegality, immigration judges across the United States ruled against the Trump administration, closing thousands of cases the government had brought against asylum seekers sent to Mexico to await U.S. hearings.

But when President Biden took office and began winding down the policy that he sharply criticized, his administration allowed only asylum seekers under Remain in Mexico — formally known as Migrant Protection Protocols — whose immigration cases remained open to enter the United States.

Since February, the Biden administration has permitted entry to some 12,000 asylum seekers with pending Migrant Protection Protocols cases, according to the United Nations refugee agency, the primary organization processing them. At the same time, Biden officials have urged patience from those whose cases were closed, promising a second phase.

Advocates and experts welcomed the move to begin admitting those asylum seekers, but criticized the administration’s slowness on restoring access.

Asylum seekers under the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy whose cases were closed — many for reasons beyond their control, including kidnappings and court rulings against the government — will now be able to come into the U.S. to pursue asylum claims, the Biden administration said Tuesday.

The administration on Wednesday will begin to allow the first of thousands with closed cases to pursue their asylum claims within the United States, the Department of Homeland Security announced. More than 30,000 migrants could potentially be eligible, according to government data.

“As part of our continued effort to restore safe, orderly, and humane processing at the Southwest Border, DHS will expand the pool” of asylum seekers eligible for processing, the department said in a statement, including those “who had their cases terminated or were ordered removed in absentia.”

Facing a policy riddled with administrative errors and questions of illegality, immigration judges across the United States ruled against the Trump administration, closing thousands of cases the government had brought against asylum seekers sent to Mexico to await U.S. hearings.

But when President Biden took office and began winding down the policy that he sharply criticized, his administration allowed only asylum seekers under Remain in Mexico — formally known as Migrant Protection Protocols — whose immigration cases remained open to enter the United States.

Since February, the Biden administration has permitted entry to some 12,000 asylum seekers with pending Migrant Protection Protocols cases, according to the United Nations refugee agency, the primary organization processing them. At the same time, Biden officials have urged patience from those whose cases were closed, promising a second phase.

Advocates and experts welcomed the move to begin admitting those asylum seekers, but criticized the administration’s slowness on restoring access.

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