RPT: PREVIEW - US Begins Phased Entry Of Asylum-Seeking Migrants Forced To Return To Mexico Under Trump

RPT: PREVIEW - US Begins Phased Entry of Asylum-Seeking Migrants Forced to Return to Mexico Under Trump

EL PASO (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 19th February, 2021) The United States on Friday will begin processing asylum-seeking migrants who were stranded at the border under the Trump administration's so-called Remain in Mexico policy.

The process will begin with a few dozen per day of thousands of those affected by the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, HOPE Border Institute Deputy Director Marisa Limon told Sputnik.

"It will be 25 people per day for several weeks ramping up to 300 per day," Limon said. "Approximately 26,000 folks have active MPP cases and are eligible for the process."

The Biden administration has an articulated plan in place in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM).

"There will be online registration, UNCHR and IOM will do almost all of the processing on the Mexican side of the border," Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center Executive Director Linda Rivas told Sputnik.

A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson told Sputnik that Friday marks the start of the "phased approach" to process asylum-seeking migrants at three ports of entry on the US southern border. The San Ysidro port of entry in California's southern border with Mexico will be the first to start processing a small number of migrants that registered ahead of time, the official added.

Two other ports of entry in Texas will begin processing in the coming days due to logistical and operational factors.

Processing in Brownsville, Texas will begin on Monday and El Paso on February 26, the spokesperson said.

"DHS will begin by processing limited numbers of individuals to ensure any logistical challenges are identified and addressed before ramping up to full capacity," the spokesperson said. "In the coming days and weeks, designated ports will expand their capacity to several hundred people each day."

Immigrant advocacy groups in El Paso, Texas, have been preparing for the last several weeks to receive large numbers of migrants in the near feature.

President Joe Biden has eased restrictive Trump-era immigration policies and has already directed his advisers to review current US immigration policies. However, his White House has discouraged migrants from coming to the US-Mexico border, warning them that many will be turned away because no proper system is in place yet to process their asylum claims.

On Thursday, Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives formally introduced Biden's immigration bill, the US Citizenship Act, that would create a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants, establish smarter border security, address the root cause of mass migration to the US southern border, and boost efforts to reunite families separated under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy.