IRAP filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit seeking records from United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about policies, procedures, and related documents pertaining to the Migrant Protection Protocols (also known as Remain in Mexico, or RMX).
RMX was originally a program implemented by the Trump administration that required asylum seekers arriving at the U.S. southern border to remain in Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings instead of being allowed to wait in the United States. As a result, tens of thousands of asylum seekers at the border who expressed fear of returning to their home countries were forced to stay in Mexico, many facing great risk to their lives and physical safety in the process. While the Biden administration later tried to halt RMX, the program was forced to remain in effect by a Texas judge who ruled that terminating it would be unlawful.
Approximately 10,000 asylum seekers were enrolled in the Biden-era RMX program before a 2022 Supreme Court decision allowed the administration to wind it down. Notably, the asylum seekers in RMX were granted asylum at far lower rates than those who were allowed to wait out their immigration proceedings in the U.S.
This case seeks to gain insight into the Biden administration’s version of the program and how it resulted in these outcomes. Given the ongoing litigation in the Texas courts about Remain in Mexico, the possibility remains that the program will be reinstated, forcing more asylum seekers to wait in Mexico and exposing them to danger, and making transparency into the program all the more urgent.
IRAP is awaiting a response from CBP to its Complaint.
- February 2, 2023: Complaint is filed.