Department of Homeland Security (DHS) personnel said on Feb. 19 that the agency would begin the initial phase of a program designed to restore safe and orderly southwest border processing.
Authorities indicated DHS would begin processing those who had been forced to remain in Mexico under Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Approximately 25,000 individuals in MPP have active cases.
“As President Biden has made clear, the U.S. government is committed to rebuilding a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said. “This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation’s values. Especially at the border, however, where capacity constraints remain serious, changes will take time. Individuals who are not eligible under this initial phase should wait for further instructions and not travel to the border.”
Mayorkas said that restrictions at the border remain in place due to the current pandemic and will be enforced.
The new process applies to individuals who returned to Mexico under the MPP program and have cases pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). Individuals outside of the United States who were not returned to Mexico under MPP or who do not have active immigration court cases will not be considered for participation in this program and should await further instructions.
The DHS noted that the United States and its partners would employ all necessary safety precautions according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, including mandatory face coverings and social distancing during the process implementation.