Ruling on Migrant Protection Protocols Is a Step Forward in Restoring the Rule of Law at the Border

February 28, 2020

WASHINGTON—Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. Nearly 60,000 people seeking asylum in the United States have been returned to Mexico to wait for their U.S. court hearings under MPP. Those subjected to MPP have been forced to wait—often for months in perilous conditions—in one of the six Mexican cities where the program has operated.

Since MPP’s implementation, only 263 people have been granted asylum while at least 816 cases of murder, torture, rape, kidnapping, and other violent assaults have been reported against people placed in the program.  

The following statement is from Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council:

“Today’s decision is a step forward in restoring the rule of law at the border.

“The decision vindicates what we have been saying for over a year—Mexico is not a safe place for asylum seekers. When the 'Remain in Mexico' program was first announced, we surveyed 500 asylum-seeking mothers about their experiences in Mexico. Our survey showed conclusively that forcing vulnerable families and children to wait in Mexico for months at a time put their lives at risk, while also making it nearly impossible for them to access the asylum process.

“Unfortunately, in the year that the program has operated, we’ve been proven right. Thousands of people have been kidnapped, assaulted, and suffered the horrible consequences of this unlawful program. The Remain in Mexico program has also done grievous harm to our legal system, as the government set up secret tent courts and made it almost impossible for asylum seekers to find lawyers. Out of nearly 62,000 people put through the program, just 5% have found lawyers.

“Rather than turning away people fleeing harm, we should ensure that the United States lives up to its reputation as a haven for those who are seeking protection by providing people with a fair day in court.”

Our experts are available for comment. Our research on the Migrant Protection Protocols, including concerns with this misguided program, the impact on asylum seekers, and firsthand accounts of the legal implications can be found on our website,


 For more information, contact:

 Maria Frausto at the American Immigration Council, [email protected] or 202-507-7526.

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
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