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DHS announces Migrant Protection Protocols

  1. Date Announced

    Dec. 20, 2018

    DHS announces the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), invoking INA § 235 (b)(2)(C). Under MPP, individuals who are nationals and citizens of designated countries other than Mexico (third-country nationals) arriving in the United States by land from Mexico, between ports of entry or without documentation, may be returned to Mexico to wait for the duration of their immigration proceedings. [ID #63]

    See Biden administration action below.

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    Dec. 20, 2018
  3. Subsequent Action

    March 11, 2020

    A federal district court enjoined the MPP policy on Apr. 8, 2019. The Ninth Circuit stayed the injunction pending appeal, and affirmed the injunction on Feb. 28, 2020. The Supreme Court stayed the injunction on Mar. 11, 2020, and granted cert. on Oct. 19, 2020. Oral argument scheduled for Feb. 2021 was postponed at the new administration's request. See Innovation Law Lab v. Wolf (N.D. Cal. 3:19-cv-00807) (9th Cir. 19-15716) (SCOTUS 19-1212).

    ACLU | Innovation Law Lab v. Wolf
  4. Subsequent Action

    October 28, 2020

    On October 28th, 2020, a group of organizational plaintiffs and a class of asylum seekers filed another challenge to the MPP policy. Although overlapping with other lawsuits, this one also argues that the policy violates asylum seekers' "First Amendment rights to hire and consult an attorney and petition," and Fifth Amendment due process rights. See Immigrant Defenders Law Center et al. v. Wolf et al., (N.D. Cal. 2:20-cv-09893).

    On November 2, 2020, the Texas Civil Rights Project filed a new challenge to the MPP policy, seeking relief for asylum-seekers with disabilities. See E.A.R.R. v. DHS (S.D. Cal. 3:20-cv-02146). A joint notice of settlement was filed in this case on June 17, 2021.

    ** Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**

    Immigrant Defenders Law Center v. Wolf - Complaint (Oct. 28, 2020)
  5. Subsequent Action

    January 14, 2021

    Immigrant Defenders and RAICES with Justice Action Center and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP filed a lawsuit seeking to protect the statutory and constitutional due process rights of unaccompanied immigrant children.

    ** Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**

    ImmDef v. DHS Press Release
  6. Biden Administration Action

    January 20, 2021

    This Biden administration policy modifies the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On January 20, 2021, DHS announced it will stop new enrollments in the MPP program. “Effective tomorrow, January 21, the Department will cease adding individuals into the program. However, current COVID-19 non-essential travel restrictions, both at the border and in the region, remain in place at this time. All current MPP participants should remain where they are, pending further official information from U.S. government officials.”

    DHS Statement on the Suspension of New Enrollments in the Migrant Protection Protocols Program
  7. Biden Administration Action

    February 11, 2021

    On February 11, 2021, the Biden Administration announced that it would begin processing asylum applications of the 25,000 individuals in MPP that have active cases, beginning February 19, 2021.

    2021-02-11 DHS Announces Process to Address Individuals in Mexico with Active MPP Cases
  8. Biden Administration Action

    June 1, 2021

    This Biden administration policy revokes in its entirety the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On June 1, 2021, DHS issued a policy memorandum signed by Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas terminating the MPP Program. The memorandum instructs DHS personnel to take the necessary steps to rescind implementing guidance and other policy guidance related to the program.

    2021.06.01 Termination of the Migrant Protection Protocols Program
  9. Biden Administration Action

    June 24, 2021

    This Biden administration policy provides guidance to adjudicators following the rescission of the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On June 24, 2021, EOIR issued guidance to agency staff regarding the adjudication of motions to reopen by respondents ordered removed in absentia under MPP. The memorandum did not mandate any particular outcome in any particular case, but emphasized that immigration judges and the BIA are authorized to reopen cases for a range of reasons, including fairness concerns, and that where respondent and DHS jointly file a motion to reopen, the motion should generally be granted. The guidance also noted that the BIA and IJs have the authority to reopen cases sua sponte in exceptional situations.

    Migrant Protection Protocols and Motions to Reopen

Commentary

HRW | Q&A: Trump Administration’s “Remain in Mexico” Program

Human Rights Watch published a Q&A raising awareness of MPP's consequences on the one-year anniversary of its implementation.

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Supreme Court Grants Stay in MPP Case - Congressional Research Service

On March 18, 2020, the Congressional Research Service released a report on the effect of the stay issued by the Supreme Court on March 11, 2020 in Wolf v. Innovation Law Lab, which allowed the Trump Administration to continue enforcing its Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) while litigation concerning MPP's legality continued.

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7 asylum-seekers to reunite with families in Massachusetts after ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy suspended

District court injunction on Feb. 13, 2021 orders the federal government to allow seven asylum-seekers to enter the United States. All of the plaintiffs have now been processed out of MPP and released so they may be reunited with their families in Massachusetts.

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