Blackburn leads GOP push to re-establish Trump’s ‘Remain-in-Mexico’ policy as Title 42 end looms

FIRST ON FOX: Republicans in the House and Senate are introducing legislation that would re-establish the Trump-era “Remain-in-Mexico” policy — as lawmakers call for solutions ahead of what is expected to be a rush at the southern border when the Title 42 public health order expires later this week. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is leading the introduction of the Make the Migrant Protection Protocols Mandatory Act, which would re-establish the Trump-era policy which the Biden administration has repeatedly attempted to officially shutter. The policy, called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), was implemented and later expanded by the Trump administration during the 2019 migrant crisis after negotiations with Mexico. The program saw migrants returned to Mexico for the duration of their immigration hearings rather than released into the U.S. It resulted in tent courts being set up along the southern border, and nearly 70,000 migrants returned under the program. Proponents hailed the program as a success, arguing that by not releasing migrants into the U.S., it reduced the pull factors bringing them north while also cutting down on fraudulent asylum claims. Critics called the policy cruel and pointed to camps that resulted in Mexico where migrants were at risk of kidnapping and violence. BIDEN ADMIN TALKS ‘TOUGHER’ ON BORDER AHEAD OF TITLE 42’S END – BUT MIGRANTS AREN’T LISTENING Then-candidate Joe Biden pledged to end the program if elected, and soon after entering office the Biden administration shut it down and released those enrolled in the program into the U.S. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has repeatedly claimed the policy was ineffective. “As Secretary Mayorkas has said, MPP has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border,” DHS said in a previous statement. However, it has struggled in its attempts to end the policy. A judge halted its moves to end the program late last year, but that has been made largely moot by Mexico’s refusal to restart the program. BORDER PATROL CLEARS WAY FOR MORE MIGRANT RELEASES TO CITY STREETS, SOURCES SAY But Republicans have repeatedly hailed the program as a key solution to the ongoing migrant crisis that has escalated under the Biden administration. Now, with Title 42 — a public health order that allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic — due to end this week, there are fresh fears of an even bigger surge. As a result, Blackburn and colleagues are pushing again for the reinstatement of MPP. “In his first week of office, President Biden began rolling back the successful Remain in Mexico program, inviting millions of illegal immigrants to flood our southern border,” Blackburn said in a statement. “As the Biden administration allows Title 42 to lapse, there must be an effective plan to avoid exacerbating their border crisis. Reinstating the practice of returning migrants to Mexico and putting an end to the zero-accountability practice of catch and release is essential for our nation’s sovereignty and security.” Blackburn introduced the legislation in the upper chamber with co-sponsors Sens. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Steve Daines, R-Mont. Meanwhile, companion legislation is being introduced in the House by Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas. MAYORKAS PLEADS WITH MIGRANTS NOT TO ENTER US ILLEGALLY WHEN TITLE 42 ENDS Lummis said the bill is an “important first step in getting the crisis at the border under control.” “The Remain in Mexico policy worked and should be reinstated,” she said. “The crisis at our southwest border is impacting every state including Wyoming and will only worsen this week when Title 42 is lifted. With illegal border crossings reaching record highs, we need solutions to stop the flow of illegal immigration at the border, which is why I’m joining my colleague Sen. Blackburn in introducing this commonsense legislation that will end catch and release.” The bill comes as Republicans have pushed a number of solutions, including the extension of a Title 42-style authority for an additional two years — a solution that also has Democratic and independent support. The Biden administration has said it has a plan for the surge, including greater cooperation with Mexico and a new asylum rule to make many migrants ineligible for asylum. Biden on Tuesday said, “we’re doing all we can.” “It’s going to be chaotic for a while,” he said.
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