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USCIS issues guidance for implementing Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)

  1. Date Announced

    Jan. 28, 2019

    USCIS issues guidance for implementing the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). According to the guidance, USCIS asylum officers should only interview those individuals referred by DHS immigration officers to assess whether it is "more likely than not" that the individual would be persecuted or tortured in Mexico. The memo states that individuals will not be granted access to counsel in preliminary interviews before being returned to Mexico. Mexican nationals and unaccompanied minors are not subject to MPP.

    [ID #67]

    See Biden administration action below.

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    Jan. 28, 2019
  3. Subsequent Action

    March 11, 2020

    A federal district court enjoined the MPP policy on Apr. 8, 2019. 9th Circuit stayed the injunction pending appeal, and affirmed the injunction on Feb. 28, 2020. Supreme Court stayed the injunction on Mar. 11, 2020, and granted cert on Oct. 19, 2020. Oral argument is expected in Feb. 2021. See Innovation Law Lab v. Wolf (N.D. Cal. 3:19-cv-00807)(9th Cir. 19-15716)(SCOTUS 19-1212). On Feb. 3, 2021, SCOTUS cancelled the upcoming oral argument at the request of the Biden administration in light of the Biden directive suspending enrollments in the MPP program as of 1/21/21 and directing a review of the program.

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

    Innovation Law Lab v. Wolf--9th Cir. Opinion
  4. 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
Type of Action: Agency Directive
Agencies Affected: CBP USCIS

Prior Policies

  • Previously, individuals expressing a fear of return were referred to an asylum officer for a credible or reasonable fear interview, and were permitted to wait in the U.S. pending adjudication of their claim.

    8 U.S. Code § 1158

Subsequent Action

Biden Administration Action

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