Officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols, the “Remain in Mexico” program has kept many asylum seekers in border cities and tent camps near the U.S.-Mexican border while they wait for their immigration court dates in the U.S. The policy has been criticized as endangering the asylum seekers by forcing them to face both possible violence and lack of sanitary conditions, especially in the tent camps. Particularly vulnerable individuals, like pregnant women and some LGBTQ people, are not supposed to be part of the program, yet there have been reports of both pregnant women and transgender individuals being returned to Mexico where they are unsafe. Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan defended the program saying now the “loophole” of bringing a child to get into the U.S. has been closed, and that having families remain in Mexico is the administration’s alternative to detaining them for the whole duration of their case (which is prohibited by the Flores Agreement). Acting Director of USCIS Ken Cuccinelli argued that the policy “achieved” the goal of stopping “catch and release.”

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Top DHS officials defended the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

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