Revamped MPP program still violates rights of asylum-seekers, California immigration attorney says

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SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The return of the Migrant Protection Protocols program, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” is not being greeted with open arms according to Dulce Garcia, an immigration attorney in San Diego.

Immigration Attorney Dulce Garcia. (Courtesy: Dulce Garcia Law)

“All around, horrible news really,” said Garcia. “Certainly a sad day for those of us that practice immigration law and serve our immigrant community, especially asylum-seeking families.”

Garcia added the new MPP, which is being implemented under a new set of guidelines, might be “worse” than the original version.

“Changes that were expected by the community are not reflected in this memo. The U.S. is violating its own protections for asylum-seekers, its treaties and national U.S. domestic law that is meant to protect asylum-seekers, yet here we are, harming them.”

Pedro Rios, who runs the San Diego-based American Friends Service Committee, said he and other migrant advocates are really disappointed and says President Joe Biden is letting a lot of asylum-seekers down.

“It’s just a lot of cosmetic changes that aren’t really going to protect the rights and their livelihoods while they’re waiting in Mexico for their cases to be heard,” he said.

Pedro Rios is the Director of the American Friends Service Committee in San Diego. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

Rios was critical of the announcement and saw many holes in the memo issued today by the White House reinstating MPP.

“According to the agreement made, Mexico is supposed to do everything possible to make sure migrants are placed into shelters. (But) if you look at shelters now in Tijuana, they’re at capacity except for the makeshift camp like El Chaparral and others that are not safe for migrants,” said Rios. “While migrants are waiting for their cases to be processed, them being in Mexico, many will become victims of crime, including sexual assault, including kidnapping and abuse of treatment by Mexican authorities. … now Mexico again is complicit in these crimes that will take place against migrants.”

Another item in the MPP guidelines that is drawing criticism, is the promise to provide legal representation to every migrant seeking asylum. Garcia doesn’t think it’s possible.

“It’s very disingenuous to say they will be providing guidance and access to lawyers when that is not the reality and not the case with MPP before, and that will not be the case this time around,” said Garcia. “It’s another lie that is included in the memo. … Lack of access to an attorney is the reason why people lose their cases, once they are in the U.S. with a lawyer either locally or wherever their final destination might be, chances of winning their cases incrementally increase,” she said.

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