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Feb 13, 2019

Migrant Protection Protocol a Failure of Justice

Stephen Antwine

The Trump Administration has instituted a new Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) which calls for certain immigrants seeking admission to the United States at the southern border to be returned to Mexico to await adjudication of their claims in U.S. immigration court. The MPP is being billed as a system to “help restore a safe and orderly immigration process.” The implementation of the program comes at a time when the Trump Administration has asserted an increase in illegal migration including an “unprecedented number of families” seeking entry.


MMP applies only to aliens arriving in the United States by land from Mexico who are not clearly admissible and placed in removal proceedings. These immigrants will be provided with a date and time to appear in U.S. immigration court and be returned to Mexico to await their hearing date.The process is being applied to immigrants who claim a fear of return to Mexico, but who have been assessed as not likely to suffer persecution in Mexico. Administration officials have said the Mexican government will grant migrants the right to stay in Mexico until the U.S.-based immigration proceedings conclude.


Immigration advocates are questioning the suitability of the MPP because it limits access to counsel, poses a risk to individuals returned to Mexico, and is contrary to established asylum procedures.  Aliens seeking asylum in the United States will now be forced to return to Mexico and spend extensive time waiting for adjudication of their claim. Mexico itself suffers from dangerous conditions in their border communities, including gang and cartel-related violence. Requiring the return of immigrants will simply thrust them back into the environment they are seeking to escape.


MPP further compounds the problems immigrants confront when navigating existing immigration system. Immigrants seeking to support and litigate their claims often lack access to qualified attorneys to assist them with their claims. Forcing immigrants to remain outside the United States will further limit due process as access to information and counsel will even more challenging to obtain.


The Trump Administration is seeking to further limit access to the justice system for immigrants facing persecution in their home countries.  MPP thrusts immigrants back into the very conditions they are fleeing and exposes them to ongoing persecution.  MPP is simply a short-sighted policy which will likely prolong and exacerbate the humanitarian concerns at the southern border.

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Stephen Antwine

Stephen Antwine



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