'Remain In Mexico' Program Expands To Tucson Sector

Published: Friday, November 22, 2019 - 10:03pm

Asylum seekers who cross into Arizona may now be subject to a policy that sends them back to Mexico as their cases proceed.

The Migration Protection Protocols — also known as the "Remain in Mexico" program — will be strengthened in the Tucson Sector, as well as the Del Rio sector in Texas. That’s according to a statement from Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

“[W]hat we've seen as we've tracked these flows is they're going in these sectors where MPP is maybe not as strong as it could be," he said in the statement.

The Washington Post recently reported that asylum seekers apprehended in the Tucson Sector, which encompasses much of Arizona’s border with Mexico, would be sent to Ciudad Juarez starting this week.

“I think we can’t understate the cruelty of this policy,” said Joanna Williams, education and advocacy director with the Kino Border Initiative, which works with migrants and asylum seekers on both sides of the border in Nogales. “This is a policy that forces people into homelessness, it forces people into a dangerous situation.”

She said resources in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, are already strapped by the many asylum seekers there. Southern Arizona, in contrast, has a number of groups who work with asylum seekers who are released into the United States as their cases proceed, according to Williams.

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