A group of 25 asylum seekers was allowed into the United States on Friday, a United Nations official said, the start of efforts to unwind one of former President Donald Trump’s successful, but unpopular among the left, immigration policies, which caused thousands to wait in Mexico for their cases to be heard.
The Biden administration has also unbelievably expressed interest in funding flights that would bring back certain people who were blocked by the Trump policy and who are no longer at the border, the U.N. official said in an interview with Reuters on Friday.
Biden pledged during his campaign that he would immediately rescind the Trump policy, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), under which more than 65,000 mostly Central American asylum seekers were denied entry and sent back across the border pending court hearings.
President Trump on the groundbreaking agreement with Mexico, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols pic.twitter.com/BlbJwCaIUT
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) January 12, 2021
Now they will be allowed into the United States to wait for their cases to be heard in immigration courts.
The effort started slowly on Friday at a port of entry in San Ysidro, California, where the 25 MPP asylum seekers were allowed to cross the border and will now quarantine in a local hotel, according to the non-profit organization Jewish Family Service of San Diego.
Hundreds of migrants signed up on Friday within hours of the launch of a U.N. website that allows migrants with active cases to register remotely to be processed at the U.S.-Mexico border, said Mark Manly, a representative in Mexico for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
On the Tijuana side of the border crossing, about 300 migrants gathered in the morning, even as Mexican officials told them they would not be able to cross without registering ahead of time.
The effort will expand in the coming week to two additional ports of entry in Texas, including one near the encampment in Matamoros, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokeswoman.
Advocates have pushed for the Biden administration to fly migrants in the program to the United States, which they say would be safer and faster for people traveling from Central America and elsewhere.
Changes in policy by the Biden administration that ended the Migrant Protection Protocols and an apparent change in Mexican policies regarding the Title 42 expulsions appear to have exacerbated the situation in the Rio Grande Valley area. https://t.co/bTXWQfZVVp
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) February 9, 2021
The United States and the United Nations are evaluating the locations of migrants and costs associated with possible flights and land transportation within Mexico, said Dana Graber Ladek, chief of mission for the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration in Mexico.
“Nothing is in place yet,” she said. “Right now we’re still exploring all of the possibilities.”
The administration estimates that only 25,000 people out of the more than 65,000 enrolled in MPP still have active immigration court cases and began dealing with that group on Friday.
Biden officials say they expect eventually to process 300 people per day at two of the ports.
In a letter sent to Biden on Feb. 10, a group of Republican lawmakers said allowing asylum seekers stranded in Mexico to enter the United States “sends the signal that our borders are open.”
Reuters contributed to this report.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org