Author: Mana Aliabadi LAW '22

Then & Now: Immigration Legal Advocacy at the Mexico-U.S. Border

Part one of a two-part post on the changing asylum landscape under the new administration. The Biden administration has signaled its intention to repair the U.S. asylum system. As law students who worked directly with asylum-seeking families, this is welcomed news. Over the last four years, the Trump administration intentionally increased the hardships that asylum seekers face. It adapted harsh, inhumane immigration policies with the express goal of deterring people from seeking asylum in the U.S. One such policy was the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. This policy treated displaced persons, including women, infant children, and the elderly, as dangerous adversaries that the country must defend itself against, and it caused widespread and profound human suffering at the U.S.-Mexico border. MPP is a Trump-era policy enacted in January 2019 which, for the first time, required asylum seekers to wait for their asylum hearings outside the United States at the U.S.-Mexico border. This policy impacted tens of thousands of asylum seekers. They were forced to build makeshift refugee camps …