Washington, D.C. — The Biden Administration’s agreement with the Mexican government to resume the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which cruelly returned more than 60,000 asylum seekers across the border into Mexico, is a decisive step backward when it comes to the U.S. protecting those seeking safety. MPP, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” not only denies vulnerable asylum seekers of their legal rights, but also jeopardizes the lives of children and families, forcing them to stay in dangerous border towns where they are easy prey for cartels, human traffickers, and other criminal groups that take advantage of their extreme vulnerability and near complete lack of protection. KIND documented these harms in a 2020 report, Forced Apart: How the “Remain in Mexico” Policy Places Children in Danger and Separates Families.
“The suffering and risk to children and families that MPP will cause cannot be underestimated,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “The humanitarian provisions that the administration has promised cannot adequately protect migrants or mitigate the harm they will endure under it.”
President Biden ended MPP soon after he was inaugurated but is now restarting it because of a federal court order in a lawsuit brought by officials in Texas and Missouri.
KIND has worked with many children whose families were forced back into Mexico to await their hearings. In some cases, their parents disappeared, including one child whose mother never returned after attempting to report their kidnapping and assault to Mexican police. Too many of these children are then forced to make the terrifying decision to cross into the United States alone to seek safety.
“It is unconscionable that we are again rejecting our responsibility to protect these children,” Young added.
Witnessing the harm caused to migrant children and families who were forced to remain in Mexico was one of the factors that led KIND to expand its work into Mexico and help address the dire conditions and increasing barriers to protection that migrant children face in their journey.
KIND is working across Mexico, at the northern and southern borders, to ensure that migrant children are protected at every stage of their journey. We also urge governments in the region to recommit themselves to protecting the rights of migrants. The Mexican government still lacks the capacity and resources to receive and care for migrants, especially vulnerable children, who are turned away from the U.S.-Mexico border. The resurrection of this policy will make an already precarious situation much worse.
“KIND will redouble our efforts to help children impacted by this appalling policy, but the Administration must end MPP once and for all,” said Young.
Media Contact: Megan McKenna, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-631-9990