President Joe Biden's administration will finally start implementing a slightly different version of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), despite its long-stated objections to the policy, now that it has reached an agreement with Mexico.
MPP, also known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy, was one of the first things Biden got rid of once he got into office, saying the practice of forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico as their court cases were handled, leaving them susceptible to being victims of robbery, kidnapping, and murder, was inhumane. Even though the Biden administration is being forced by the federal courts to carry out the policy, it is reasonable to assume that once word begins spreading about MPP being back in place, immigrants will think twice about crossing illegally and turning themselves in.
That effect is a double edge sword. First, according to the Washington Post, MPP will only be applied to single adult asylum seekers, at least for now, with Mexico being "willing to accept asylum seekers from Spanish-speaking countries, as with the previous version of the program, but migrants from 'all western hemisphere nations' will be eligible for return."
From the jump, it looks as though families with young children in tow and unaccompanied minors will not be returned to Mexico under MPP. So while we may easily see continued crossings of those groups, the single adults who want to cross into the U.S. will start going back to more covert means. While it is a signal from the U.S. government that the border is not as open as it used to be, you can be sure human smugglers will not tell prospective clients about the change in order to continue making money.
Title 42 will also still be in use. As I found out during my October trip to Arizona, sometimes Border Patrol doesn't have the manpower or the time to expel single adults back into Mexico due to the volume of encounters they have on a daily basis.
The implementation of MPP nearly a year after Biden tried to get rid of it does nothing on those who have entered the country illegally and released with nothing more than a notice to report to their local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, which is a hit or miss if they bother to show up to follow the process. MPP being put back in place is a step in the right direction that could help alleviate the ongoing border crisis, but the effects of telling the world the southern border is open for most of 2021 can be hard to undo as thousands more people are already in Mexico and trying to enter the U.S. every day.
"For months, I have been urging the administration to reinstate successful border policies like Remain In Mexico," said Congressman Tony Gonzales (R-TX). "Maybe if they had listened earlier, our border crisis wouldn't be this dire."