US unwinds Trump policy making asylum-seekers wait in Mexico

US unwinds Trump policy making asylum-seekers wait in Mexico
A woman seeking asylum in the United States waits with others for news of policy changes, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Tijuana, Mexico. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: The Biden administration on Friday moved to restore the asylum system to the way it worked for decades by releasing a group of asylum-seekers into the US, ending their long wait in Mexico and unraveling one of Donald Trump’s signature immigration policies.

The 25 people who arrived are the first of an estimated 25,000 asylum-seekers with active cases in the “Remain in Mexico” program. American officials are warning people not to come to the border in wary of a surge of migrants. The US officials urged asylum-seekers to register on a website that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees launched Friday.

The new arrivals were taken to San Diego hotels to quarantine amid the Covid pandemic before they travel to their final destinations in the US to stay with relatives, friends or sponsors.

President Biden is making good on his promise to end a policy that former President Donald Trump said was critical to reversing a surge of asylum-seekers, which peaked in 2019.

The program is known officially as “Migrant Protection Protocols,” and it changed the way people traditionally had been treated by the US government as they sought protection from violence and persecution.

It exposed asylum-seekers to violence in Mexican border cities and made it difficult to find lawyers and communicate with courts about their cases.

There were unanswered questions about Joe Biden’s changes, including how Central Americans who returned home will get back to the US-Mexico border. It is also not clear how long it will take to work through all the cases, with the oldest going first.

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