US reinstates remain-in-Mexico program to comply with court order, expands people affected
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The Biden administration on Monday began sending asylum-seekers to Mexico to await court hearings.
President Joe Biden had tried to end the Trump administration’s remain-in-Mexico program, but court decisions required the government to keep the policy in place during litigation, report the Associated Press, CNN and BuzzFeed News.
In August, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a judge’s decision requiring reinstatement of the remain-in-Mexico policy. The Supreme Court said lawsuit plaintiffs were likely to succeed in their argument that Biden’s rescission of the program was arbitrary and capricious.
Despite seeking to end the remain-in-Mexico program, the Biden administration has expanded it to apply to anyone in the Western Hemisphere other than Mexico. That means Haitians seeking asylum could be sent to Mexico as they await hearings.
The administration will address humanitarian concerns by providing access to counsel, quicker court hearings, better information about the process and COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a press release. “Particularly vulnerable individuals” will not be sent to Mexico.
According to guidance by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, people will have a chance to consult with counsel at DHS facilities before an interview with an asylum officer to determine whether they are exempt from the remain-in-Mexico process. They may also have counsel with them telephonically during the interview, as long as it doesn’t unreasonably delay the process.
They will also have the opportunity to consult with counsel before and during their asylum court hearings.
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