CGRS Welcomes New MPP Termination Memo, Urges Swift Action to Protect Lives

Friday, October 29, 2021

Today the Biden administration issued a new memo terminating the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), the illegal Trump-era policy that forced asylum seekers to “remain in Mexico” for the duration of their legal proceedings. Shortly after issuing the memo, the administration filed a motion requesting that the Fifth Circuit vacate a flawed lower court ruling that had ordered it to reinstate MPP. The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) is encouraged by these actions, which align with demands immigrant rights advocates have been making for over two months. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ new memo recognizes what we know to be true: MPP is an “intolerable” policy that exposes people seeking asylum to grave dangers while making a mockery of due process.

However, we remain concerned that in recent weeks the administration has made significant efforts to restart MPP at the border, even asking legal and humanitarian organizations to help legitimize a process Secretary Mayorkas himself admits is fundamentally unsafe for both asylum seekers and service providers. We continue to urge the administration to use every tool at its disposal to prevent the return of MPP in any form.

“We are glad the administration has finally heeded the calls of the immigrant rights community and is taking steps to end the MPP once and for all,” said Blaine Bookey, CGRS Legal Director and co-counsel in Innovation Law Lab v. Mayorkas, CGRS’s lawsuit challenging MPP with the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center. “There is no safe, fair, or legal way to reinstate a policy designed to deprive asylum seekers of their rights. We hope the administration's acknowledgment of the devastating harms caused by MPP will be followed by concrete action to restore asylum processing at the southern border. Not one more person should be placed in MPP or expelled under Title 42, which exposes asylum seekers to the very same dangers.”

“I joined a lawsuit challenging MPP because the policy caused me a lot of pain and denied me my right to ask for asylum,” said Gregory*, an asylum seeker subjected to MPP and plaintiff in Innovation Law Lab v. Mayorkas. “I’m glad to hear the government recognize the harm it caused so many like me. It wouldn’t be fair to block asylum seekers from entering the United States. Those of us who fled Central America were in danger in the border area where criminals and narcos preyed on migrants. This intimidation and crime made me very afraid and I hope the government makes sure nobody else has to suffer that again.”

*Name changed to protect anonymity