“Their story illuminates the fact that rolling back Trump-era policies is not enough.”
Jose and his family, who were targeted because of their church affiliation among other reasons, moved from town to town persevering through police and gang violence in El Salvador. This family was separated at the U.S.-Mexico border because in January 2019, the Trump Administration implemented the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP), known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Their story illuminates the fact that rolling back Trump-era policies is not enough. The Biden Administration must go further because families like Jose’s remain unprotected and continue to endure consequences from the dozens of Trump Administration policies that made systematic cuts to the asylum program. Our immigration system must be transformed to reconcile these fatal shortcomings in order to value, protect, and dignify families and people.
The Trump Administration’s Remain in Mexico policy forced U.S. asylum seekers, like Jose’s children, to remain stranded in Mexico as they awaited their U.S. asylum hearing in court. For more than two years, thousands of children like Jose’s and other asylum seekers waited in Mexico and thousands of others have been expelled or barred from accessing legal asylum, which is their legal right. The current increase in people attempting to cross the border and specifically that of unaccompanied children actually began under the Trump Administration in April 2020 while MPP was still in effect–evidence that cruelty isn’t an effective deterrent when families are fighting to keep their family together and safe.