Last night, the Supreme Court of the United States denied a stay request, thus requiring that the government reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), otherwise known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Under MPP, asylum seekers who come to the United States border are not permitted to enter the U.S. to prepare for their asylum cases and wait for their court hearing. Instead, they are given a court date notice and sent back to Mexico to await their hearing.
VECINA is deeply saddened by this decision, and urges the Biden Administration to take any action legally possible to bring MPP to an end permanently. MPP is incredibly unjust and dangerous, resulting in thousands of kidnappings and almost no access to counsel. Out of 398 families VECINA worked with in Mexico this summer, approximately 40% had been the victims of kidnapping or attempted kidnapping. Throughout the entirety of the MPP program, less than 5% have been represented by counsel.
A kindler, gentler version of MPP “is always going to be a lie,” states VECINA mentor Taylor Levy. “The program is fundamentally flawed and fundamentally illegal, no matter how much rice we give [to feed people], no matter how much we try and make it look pretty.”
VECINA Board President Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch urges the Biden Administration to restore our process for asylum seekers to something similar to what we have done historically, prior to MPP. “We had a functioning system to humanely process asylum seekers for decades. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked. We as a nation recognized our responsibility to protect refugees who were fleeing persecution. It is fundamental to who we are as a nation.”
For more information about what this means for asylum seekers, you can watch this video by VECINA CEO Lindsay Gray, Board President Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, and Mentor Taylor Levy.