Republican members of Congress blasted President Biden in a letter Friday over his administration’s “weak border policies” and prodded him to start complying with a judge’s order to restart the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy.
Led by Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona Republican, more than 30 lawmakers said Mr. Biden’s claims that the border is closed are belied by the numbers, which show an unprecedented surge of illegal border crossings and subsequent releases into the community.
Mr. Biggs said the crisis is a result of Mr. Biden’s “obsession with undoing President Trump’s successful border security policies,” and particularly the Migrant Protection Protocols, which is the official name of the Remain in Mexico program.
A federal judge in Texas ruled nearly two months ago that the Department of Homeland Security’s attempt to revoke MPP was illegal and ordered Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to work in “good faith” to revive the program. The Republican lawmakers said it’s time to comply.
“The obsession with terminating MPP is evidence that your administration has no desire to secure our border and stop illegal immigration,” the lawmakers wrote.
They asked for the administration to set a date for restoring MPP and demanded data on who has been released into the U.S. this year — in many cases people who otherwise might have been sent back to Mexico under MPP.
“We are demanding that the president provide Congress with accurate information about the extent of the border crisis so that we can understand the full impact of his open border policies,” Mr. Biggs said.
The Trump administration established MPP as a way to solve a perverse incentive in U.S. immigration policy. Migrants had figured that if they came and made asylum claims — even though almost all of them were bogus — they would be released into the country to await their court dates.
Those dates were years in the future, and in the meantime, they usually disappeared into the community alongside 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
Under MPP, they were allowed to lodge asylum claims but were made to wait in Mexico for their court dates. Without the foothold in the U.S., most gave up. And more importantly, security officials said, others stopped trying to come.
The Biden administration says MPP forced migrants to wait in squalid and dangerous conditions in Mexico. The new administration moved to cancel MPP, but a federal judge ordered it restored, saying the Biden team cut too many procedural corners.
Homeland Security issued a memo last week saying it is in negotiations with Mexico to restart the program, but also said it intends to issue a formal memo canceling MPP again, this time checking all the procedural boxes.