White tents popping up along the US border with Mexico are part of President’s Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) – a policy put into action to keep asylum seekers out of America while going through the vetting process for legal documentation. It’s a rocket docket for immigration hearings that normally could take years to process, and it is handily reducing wait times to as little as 40 to 60 days. With a backlog of 800,000 cases waiting to be decided, the tents seem practical, smart, and humane.
Under the MPP, migrants apprehended at the border are sent back to Mexico. After Trump’s tariff threats and the resulting negotiations with the Mexican government, asylum seekers are given a social security number, documentation for employment, and are assisted in finding a job.
The pop-up temporary courtrooms are in Laredo and Brownsville, TX, a stone’s throw from the international barrier. Now with the increasing cooperation of our amigos in Mexico, the administration has eyes set on additional locales.
Under scrutiny for overcrowded detention facilities and a flood of inflammatory accusations from Democrats, the program commonly referred to as “Remain in Mexico” opened the doors for journalists on all sides of partisan reporting for a look-see on the process.
And the process is simple: Those seeking asylum walk a few feet to the tents and wait for their turns to plead their cases to a judge in San Antonio via video conference. Streamlined, efficient, and cost effective, with an average of 428 daily cases. Each courtroom set up has private rooms for discussions with legal counsel – also on site – translators, and play areas with books and toys for children.
What’s not to applaud about this small success in the national security and humanitarian crisis of the century?
Oh, one might be surprised.
Open Borders or Nada
One group, Human Rights First, believes the program is simply a clandestine Kangaroo Court meant to attack “due process” and that the entire asylum process is a “sham.” The group’s incessant allegations of wrongdoing led to the media day in court.
The National Immigrant Justice Center alleged on NPR that Trump’s Remain in Mexico is a smokescreen for “foreclosing” asylum altogether. Under MPP over 42,000 migrants have been sent back to Mexico. Conversely, it seems only a handful have been accepted and allowed to stay in US.
But Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence may have the answer to those stats, claiming many simply give up and go home. Perhaps the plan is working.
Of course, no Democratic presidential candidate seems to believe in the numbers. Two dozen Democrats and an Independent here and there sent a letter to the president, asking him to end the Remain in Mexico program. Signatories included Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Kamala Harris (D-CA). The letter scolds:
“Under the Remain in Mexico policy, the United States has turned its back on its domestic and international legal obligations by forcing men, women, and children to await resolution of their US asylum cases in parts of Mexico plagued by violence. While in Mexico, these asylum seekers have limited access to lawyers and shelter, which makes it nearly impossible for them to prepare their cases and effectively denies them meaningful access to the U.S. asylum system.”
Perhaps that meet and greet at the soft-sided courts in Texas put that demand to rest. The good news is that apprehensions have seen a dramatic drop of 54% since May of 2019 – when 144,000 folks were apprehended. Mexico is doing its part and immigrants are being humanely cared for, provided legal aid, and a swift decision – not always the one requested, but maybe the most just.
What’s not to applaud?