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The Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University


In January 2019, the Trump Administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), colloquially known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. The MPP is a United States government immigration policy that requires that asylum seekers be returned to Mexico to wait as their claims pend in United States immigration court proceedings. Supporters of the program argued that the policy was a step to strengthen border security and prevent human smuggling and trafficking. However, journalists, human rights organizations, and academics exposed how the policy manufactured a humanitarian crisis and stranded over 70,000 asylum seekers in dangerous Mexican border cities. This article examines the impacts of the MPP on the United States asylum and immigration court system. It explores the implementation of and Trump administration justification for the MPP, analyzes government data and evaluation of the policy, reviews investigative documentation from public reporting by media and nonprofit organizations, and sets forth recommendations for Congress and the Biden Administration to begin to reverse and repair the harms imposed on asylum seekers. Over two years later, the MPP policy is known as one of the Trump Administration’s most damaging anti-asylum policies putting asylum seekers in harm’s way.

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