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This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.

Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced on June 1, 2021, that he has terminated the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP) program. The Trump administration implemented the program in January 2019 with a memorandum from then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Under the program, approximately 68,000 individuals were returned to Mexico following their enrollment. According to a new memorandum, Secretary Mayorkas determined that “MPP does not adequately or sustainably enhance border management in such a way as to justify the program’s extensive operational burdens and other shortfalls.” Under MPP, certain non-Mexican applicants for admission to the United States who arrived on land at the southwest border could be returned to Mexico to await their removal proceedings. Due to public health measures necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, DHS and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) “stopped being able to facilitate and conduct immigration court hearings for individuals enrolled in MPP beginning in March 2020,” the memo notes. DHS “has worked with interagency partners and facilitating organizations to implement a phased process for the safe and orderly entry into the United States of certain individuals who had been enrolled in MPP” following DHS’s suspension of new enrollments as of January 21, 2021.

The memo states that termination of MPP “does not impact the status of individuals who were enrolled in MPP at any stage of their proceedings before EOIR or the phased entry process” described in the memo.

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