President Biden’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ (formally known as the Migrant Protection Policy ‘MPP’) bears little resemblance to the Trump administration’s version. When President Biden took office, he stopped the policy which required asylum seekers at the southern border to remain in Mexico until their cases were heard. In September 2021, a U.S. District Court ordered the program reinstated, and ‘Remain in Mexico’ was reimplemented in early December.
As detailed in the Washington Post article here, “Immigration advocates were furious, blaming Biden for not pushing back harder. But two months after its restart, the new version of MPP bears little resemblance to President Donald Trump’s. The Biden administration has re-implemented the program with a narrow scope and none of the zeal demonstrated by Trump officials.”
The main difference between the two ‘Remain in Mexico’ programs is the number of asylum seekers returned to Mexico. The court did not set quotas for MPP and during the first two months of the reinstatement only about 410 MPP enrollees have been sent to Mexico. This is about 7 asylum seekers per day, compared to 300 - 400 returned daily in the summer of 2019 under Trump.
The Biden administration has limited the MPP program to primarily adult men, exempting those considered vulnerable based on health issues, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Most of the men returned have come from Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba. Since the United States is harshly critical of these governments, the majority of MPP enrollees under Biden also have stronger cases for asylum.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also attributes the low number of migrant returns to Mexico’s restrictions. Mexico only allows migrant MPP returns if there is adequate shelter and quarantine capacity, which was substantially reduced by the Covid Omicron wave. Additionally, DHS now asks MPP candidates whether they fear a return to Mexico, which was not a safeguard under the Trump administration.