According to a source familiar with the plans, the Biden administration is expanding the pool of migrants eligible to be processed into the United States who had been subject to a Trump-era policy requiring them to remain in Mexico.
The Biden administration began allowing migrants who were subject to the so-called “remain in Mexico” policy, which required asylum seekers to remain in Mexico until their court date in the United States, to gradually enter the country. The policy, which took effect in January 2019, marked a significant departure from previous protocols that allowed migrants to enter the country while awaiting immigration hearings.
The program impacted more than 70,000 people. Many waited months, if not years, in deplorable conditions, facing extortion, sexual assault, and kidnapping threats.
Starting on Wednesday, the administration will allow migrants whose cases were terminated or ordered removed because they were not present at their hearings to be processed, potentially affecting tens of thousands of people. Because of dangerous conditions or a lack of communication, some migrants who were required to stay in Mexico were unable to attend their immigration hearings in the United States.
The process in Mexico is being aided by international organizations. After registering virtually and being confirmed as eligible to enter, a person is instructed to arrive at a staging location 24 hours before their crossing date. Migrants are tested for Covid-19 at the staging location. If a positive test is found, the person will be placed in quarantine for ten days. Before entering the United States, individuals must test negative for HIV.
In early June, the Biden administration formally ended the “remain in Mexico” policy, which was praised by immigrant advocates who claimed the policy put migrants in danger. More than 11,000 migrants who were previously barred from entering the US have been admitted.