Two Years of Remain in Mexico: Asylum Seekers at Border in Urgent Need of Humanitarian Assistance

January 29, 2021

Washington, DC – Today marks two years since former President Trump announced the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a policy that did nothing to protect migrants, but has instead denied asylum seekers access to the United States forcing them to “Remain in Mexico.” The policy forced thousands of vulnerable children and families seeking protection to wait in dangerous conditions, living in make-shift camps along the U.S.-Mexico border while their asylum cases were slowly processed. MPP has also led to hundreds of unnecessary parent-child separations, creating irreparable harm for the families, as documented in a Kids in Need of Defense report.

Forced Apart: How the “Remain in Mexico” Policy Places Children in Danger and Separates Families

“While President Biden promised to end MPP and stop any new placements in the program, the thousands of families and individuals who were already enrolled in MPP are still waiting in Mexico, braving increasingly dangerous conditions, and unsure of what comes next,” noted KIND President Wendy Young. “The United States must not turn its back on those who are still suffering as a result of the previous administration’s misguided immigration policies.”

Violence against migrants continues to be pervasive in Mexico. Human rights organizations have complied a list of over 1,300 publicly reported cases of violence against migrants since the policy began. This includes over 300 attempted kidnappings of children who had been returned to Mexico by the U.S. government.

Earlier this week, there were horrifying reports about the brutal killing of 19 individuals whose remains were found in northern Mexico near the U.S. border. News reports indicate that these were migrants, and among them were children.  The news harkens back to a 2010 massacre where 72 migrants were killed in the same region and underscores the impunity that exists for crimes against migrants.

“This reporting is a tragic reminder of why it is not safe for migrants to remain in Mexico under MPP. It also speaks to the urgency for immediate action to protect those who must migrate, particularly vulnerable children,” observed Young.

KIND is working across the United States, at the U.S.-Mexico border, and within Mexico to ensure that migrant children are protected at every stage of their journey.  We are also urging governments of the region to recommit to protect the rights of migrants and working together for durable solutions to the crisis.

KIND notes that the U.S. government should work with Mexico and provide immediate assistance to ensure the safety of migrants as they travel and seek protection. The United States has a responsibility to resolve the chaos created at the border by four years of cruel and illegal immigration policies. The U.S. government can establish an orderly process that would ensure access to U.S. protection and safety for those who have been languishing at the border.

The Mexican government must rethink immigration enforcement activities and ensure all officials respect the rights of migrants; redirect resources toward the protection of migrants’ rights; guarantee safe conditions for migrants, particularly vulnerable children; and address rampant impunity for crimes against migrants, ensuring justice for the victims without discrimination.

KIND Blueprint: Concrete Steps to Protect Unaccompanied Children on the Move


Media Contact: Megan McKenna,, 202-631-9990