Featured Issue: Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)

Two years after the Migrant Protection Protocols first began, new enrollments into this border processing program officially ended on January 20, 2021. Over this period, thousands of individuals arriving at the U.S. southern border seeking protection were forced to remain in Mexico pending their U.S. immigration court hearings.

MPP or "Remain in Mexico" dramatically altered the processing of asylum claims at the U.S. southern border and made it far more difficult for asylum seekers to receive a fair and meaningful review of their claims. In September 2019, DHS opened massive temporary tent facilities in Laredo and Brownsville, Texas, that functioned as virtual immigration courtrooms for vulnerable asylum seekers subject to MPP. AILA covered the numerous due process and access to counsel violations while these “tent courts” operated in Eyes on the Border but Shut out of the Tent Courts.

On March 23, 2020 – in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – DHS and EOIR suspended all MPP hearings. The implementation of the suspension was chaotic and confusing, leading some people to travel to ports of entry only to be turned away and others to miss the opportunity to get their notices of rescheduled hearings.

Finally, on February 11, 2021, DHS announced the beginning of the process to unwind MPP. In this initial phase, eligible individuals in Mexico are required to register online or by phone with the UNHCR and complete COVID-19 testing before they are permitted to present themselves at a port of entry. This process has no official end date and is expected to go on for some time. Many questions remain about the future for individuals formerly in MPP but who are not eligible for this initial phase of processing.


Resources on MPP Processing and Former MPP Individuals

Government Announcements and Policies

Information on Former MPP Hearings and Tent Courts

Litigation

Select Congressional Oversight Efforts

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 19091660.