JOE Biden’s administration has officially put an end to Donald Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy after suspending it earlier this year.
It comes the same day that Biden pushed Congress to clear the way for the estimated 11million undocumented people in the US to get citizenship.
The remain in Mexico policy forced asylum seekers to wait in the country for hearings in US immigration court, and sent back about 70,000 people from the time it was put into place by Trump in January 2019 until Biden halted it on his first day in office.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that the administration would be doing away with the policy, formally known as Migrant Protection Protocols, in a memo on Tuesday.
He said the policy had “mixed effectiveness in achieving several of its central goals.”
The policy did lead to a sharp decline in asylum seekers at the border, but critics pointed out that people forced to stay in Mexico were often exposed to violent conditions and often had a difficult time making it to court.
Some Republican officials expressed their outrage over the move, with New York Rep John Katko calling it a “very serious mistake.”
“The ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy was a critical tool for border patrol agents to manage the influx of migrants flooding into our country,” Katko said in a statement.
“Once again, the Biden Administration has forced our frontline border security professionals to manage the mess it made with no choice but to catch-and-release tens of thousands of migrants into the interior of our country.”
Mayorkas said in his memo that the decrease in asylum seekers while the policy was in place did not necessarily equate to solving immigration issues.
“I have determined that MPP does not adequately or sustainably enhance border management in such a way as to justify the program’s extensive operational burdens and other shortfalls,” he wrote.
“Over the course of the program, border encounters increased during certain periods and decreased during others.
“Moreover, in making my assessment, I share the belief that we can only manage migration in an effective, responsible, and durable manner if we approach the issue comprehensively, looking well beyond our own borders.”
Since February 19, about 11,200 people with active cases have been allowed to return to the US to wait for a ruling, a process which can take years.
Also on Tuesday, Biden’s administration asked Congress to pass the US Citizenship Act of 2021, which would provide a way for the millions of undocumented people living in the US currently to stay legally.
A statement from the president proclaimed that “it is vital that our Nation reflect on the leadership, resilience, and courage shown by generations of immigrant communities, and recommit ourselves to our values as a welcoming Nation. ”
The president said his plan is to, “provide a pathway to lawful permanent residency and citizenship for these undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers, individuals with Temporary Protected Status, farm workers, and other essential workers who contribute to our Nation every day.”