On January 25, 2019, the US announced that it would begin implementing a new policy in partnership with the Mexican government titled Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) – aka the “Remain in Mexico” program. As MPP rolled out, it barred asylum seekers from residing in the US while awaiting their court date and returned them to cities in Mexico along the border such as Tijuana, Mexicali, San Luis Rio Colorado, Las Cruces, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and Matamoros and others. This program was suspended in January 2021, but during its operation, it barred over 70,000 non-Mexican migrants to wait in Mexico while the US processed their cases.

This policy came about through an agreement between the US and Mexican governments which forces asylum seekers approaching the US to wait on the Mexico side of the border for their hearing date after being detained. Before MPP was enacted, asylum seekers were screened and allowed into the US on parole until their hearing date and 89% of those released would return for their court hearings. 

Asylum seekers usually have to wait months before their case can be heard under the MPP program. While attempts have been made to expedite the immigration hearing process, the backlog of cases continues to grow along with cases of violence in border camps. Over the protest of immigration judges, judges were assigned a caseload of 700 cases per year under the threat of punitive action and job termination. This intensified rate of cases serves no one and greatly reduces the amount of time that immigration judges can devote to hearing each case and assigning fair judgements exemplifying how the system is not designed to genuinely listen to asylum seekers.