Biden, at his lowest ratings
Joe Biden is about to celebrate his first year in the Oval Office, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington D.C., and he’s about to become the U.S. president who has lost popularity the fastest. The reason? The reinstatement of the “Stay in Mexico” policy, which has been back in effect since December 6 and forces anyone seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico until their application is approved by immigration authorities. The same one he and Kamala Harris harshly attacked, and one of the key points of their electoral campaign.
Interestingly, it isn’t the direct fault of Biden and Harris that this misnamed “Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP),” implemented in 2019 by Donald Trump, is back in force. They put an end to the MPP upon entering the White House, at the beginning of 2021. It has been a federal court that has ruled so, following a lawsuit by the conservative states of Texas and Missouri. Texas borders Mexico. Missouri doesn’t.
Biden and Harris may say they are obeying the court order and not doing so would be contempt of court. But their past weighs in, when both told migrants: “don’t come, stay home” when they came to power. It was a bucket of cold water for tens of thousands of Latinos, who longed to reach the “American dream.”
All against Biden
The Biden-Harris tandem does not limit itself to obeying the judge’s order but extends the MPP to the entire Western hemisphere. If before it harmed Spanish-speaking migrants and Brazilians, now Haitians and Jamaicans are added as victims.
Biden and Harris are being criticized by the Haitian Bridge Alliance, an organization that helps migrants -especially blacks- in Mexico and on the border with the U.S. Criticism from UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), which has expressed its “grave concern” about the impact on the safety of asylum seekers.
Criticism from the Justice Action Center, which assures that the reimplementation of the MPP “is not only a decision of the courts; Biden has responsibility, because he did not act when the first court ruling came out,” according to Karen Tumlin, director of the organization.
Criticism from Lawyers for Good Government, the organization behind Proyecto Corazón: “This Administration used the image of petitioners suffering to win votes. The MPP is inhumane and insensitive, it has no due process, legality, humanity or morality,” according to its representative Gustavo Cifuentes.
“Supremacism and xenophobia.”
And criticism from Alianza America, the main transnational advocacy network of Latin American organizations led by migrants: “Trump forced more than 70,000 asylum seekers to wait for their immigration court hearings in Mexico’s unsafe border cities. This is an expanded version of the MPP and the continuation of a cruel policy that ignores international humanitarian standards,” denounces its executive director, Óscar Chacón. “It follows extreme white supremacist and xenophobic fake lies.”
“Biden could have pushed a counter-attack legal strategy to neutralize the GOP states’ lawsuit. He could have sought subtle ways to comply with the court ruling in a minimalist way. But the Democratic Party considers migrants a threat to the nation,” Óscar Chacón told Sol de Medianoche.
The policy has been widely condemned by immigration lawyers and human rights observers.
So far, the misnamed “Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP)” has resulted in 6,356 kidnappings, attacks, rapes, human trafficking, and violent armed assaults against asylum seekers (including minors), according to Human Rights First.
There are almost 3,200 kilometers of border with Mexico. The Department of Homeland Security, headed by Cuban-born Alejandro Mayorkas, says it is unclear where it will begin to resume the MPP. But the first border points are San Diego and Calexico (California), Nogales (Arizona) and El Paso, Eagle Pass, Laredo, and Brownsville (Texas).