President Joe Biden just ended the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) program, which has been referred to as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. The MPP program required certain aliens entering or seeking admission to the U.S. from Mexico — illegally or without proper documentation — to return to Mexico and wait outside of the U.S. for the duration of their immigration proceedings.
That means the people will now be waiting inside the U.S. — usually anywhere they like — for as long as two and a half years, or more, until a backlogged court gets to their case, at which point, statistics show, they don’t show up for their hearing.
According to the Trump administration, the MPP program provided a safer and more orderly immigration process that discouraged individuals from taking advantage of the immigration system, such as by making false asylum claims
Approximately 68,000 individuals were returned to Mexico pursuant to the program.

According to DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the MPP program did “not adequately or sustainably enhance border management in such a way as to justify the program’s extensive operational burdens and other shortfalls.”

How is Mayorkas enhancing border management by ending the MPP program? And what about the unintended consequences of ending it, which will almost certainly produce a surge in asylum cases for an immigration court already struggling unsuccessfully with a backlog crisis? Ending the program also will eliminate a deterrent to coming here to ask for asylum for the sole purpose of getting into the U.S. and then disappearing into the interior of the country.

Surge at the border & backlog crisis


Published originally on the Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow his blog at