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US to Reinstate Remain in Mexico Policy10/15 05:59

   The Biden administration said it plans to reinstate a Trump-era border 
policy next month to make asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. 
immigration court, complying with a judge's order.

   SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The Biden administration said it plans to reinstate a 
Trump-era border policy next month to make asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for 
hearings in U.S. immigration court, complying with a judge's order.

   It hinges on approval of the Mexican government, which has raised concerns 
that U.S. officials are working to address, the Justice Department said in a 
court filing late Thursday. Mexico wants cases to generally conclude within six 
months and ensure that asylum-seekers have timely and accurate information 
about hearing dates and times and better access to legal counsel.

   Mexico also wants exemptions for "particularly vulnerable populations" and 
better coordination on locations and times of day that asylum-seekers are 
returned to Mexico.

   About 70,000 asylum-seekers have been subject to the "Remain in Mexico" 
policy, known officially as "Migrant Protection Protocols," which President 
Donald Trump introduced in January 2019 and Biden suspended on his first day in 
office. A federal judge sided with the states of Texas and Missouri by ordering 
the Biden administration in August to reinstate the policy "in good faith." The 
court filing says it should be in effect around mid-November.

   U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo, Texas, a Trump appointee, 
left open the possibility that the administration could try again to end the 
policy, and officials say they will release a plan soon that they hope will 
survive legal scrutiny.

   U.S. Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas ended the policy in June after an 
internal review, saying it achieved "mixed effectiveness."

   Illegal border crossings fell sharply after Mexico, facing Trump's threat of 
higher tariffs, acquiesced in 2019 to the policy's rapid expansion. 
Asylum-seekers were victims of major violence while waiting in Mexico and faced 
a slew of legal obstacles, such as access to attorneys and case information.

   The administration will rebuild tent courts in Texas border cities of Laredo 
and Brownsville at a monthly cost of $24.6 million to operate, according to the 
court filing, and is working to ensure there is capacity in a system that is 
backlogged with 1.4 million cases.

   Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said Thursday that it has concerns 
about asylum-seekers getting fair treatment in court under the policy, having 
access to legal counsel and being safe.

   Mexico said it also has raised questions about another U.S. policy to expel 
migrants without a chance to seek asylum. Trump invoked those powers, known as 
Title 42 authority, in March 2020 on grounds of preventing spread of the 
coronavirus. The Biden administration has strongly defended the special powers.

   "Mexico will continue discussion with the U.S. executive branch, with the 
aim of achieving a regional migration policy that is safe, orderly and 
regulated," the Foreign Relations Department said.

   U.S. officials say the renewed "Remain in Mexico" policy will be applied to 
people who don't qualify for Title 42 authority. The policy was last used 
largely on people from Spanish-speaking countries but officials say eligible 
nationalities have not been determined.

   Broad outlines of the reinstated policy come as the Biden administration has 
yet to develop the "humane" asylum system that the president promised during 
his campaign after quickly dismantling many Trump policies. Illegal border 
crossings have soared under Biden's watch, with record numbers of unaccompanied 
children and, in September, the arrival of about 15,000 mostly Haitian migrants 
at a camp in Del Rio, Texas.

   Homeland Security said in a statement that it "remains committed to building 
a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system that upholds our laws and 
values."

 
 
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