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WASHINGTON, D.C. (8/20/2021) - Two decisions out of Texas federal courts threaten access to protection for migrants and asylum seekers and may place them in danger. A federal appeals court opened the door for the return of the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, which the Biden administration had been slowly winding down. MPP, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” forced more than 70,000 migrants and asylum seekers to wait in perilous conditions in Mexico. The second federal decision out of Texas blocked immigration enforcement priorities, instructing the administration to detain and prosecute even more immigrants. This decision comes as the Biden administration has nearly doubled the number of people detained in U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.

Lisa Koop, Associate Director of Legal Services at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), stated the following in response:

“NIJC witnessed firsthand the atrocities of the morally repugnant Remain in Mexico program. Our clients were subjected to repeated kidnappings and violence. We spoke with mothers who were raped in front of their children and families who were torn apart. We saw extortions of individuals exercising their lawful right to seek asylum. Our clients were not alone, as more than 1,500 people were murdered, raped, tortured, kidnapped, or assaulted while waiting in Mexico - and those are only the reported cases. MPP forced families to separate. Our clients, most of whom are Black, Brown, and Indigenous asylum seekers, have suffered unspeakable harms because of a policy designed to punish them for seeking asylum. We call on the Biden administration to recognize and articulate this horrific record to ensure this unconscionable policy is not revived.

“While asylum seekers continue to be stranded outside U.S. borders, another federal court is calling for their continued detention inside. This decision continues the white supremacist scheme of vilifying migrants and asylum seekers as a danger to the United States. Detention has brought NIJC clients ‘on the edge of collapse.’ Increased enforcement and detention prey on communities of color already victimized in the criminal legal system. We reject the racist premise that undergirds the return to mass detention and enforcement.”