The US Department of Homeland Security is seeking to terminate a Trump-era migration rule, which required asylum-seeking migrants to stay in Mexico while awaiting court proceedings.
The department issued a memo in June ending the program, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), but a Texas-based federal judge ruled MPP must be restarted.
“The Department of Homeland Security intends to issue in the coming weeks a new memorandum terminating the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP),” DHS said in the release on Wednesday.
“Although the Department issued a June 2021 memorandum that terminated MPP, a Texas district court vacated that prior termination determination and issued an injunction that requires the Department to work in good faith to re-start MPP.”
The new memorandum to terminate MPP will not take effect until the current injunction from the Texas court is lifted, the release said.
Biden has sought since taking office in January to reverse many of Trump’s hardline immigration policies. Republican-led Texas and Missouri challenged the Democratic president’s move.
Republicans blame Biden’s reversal of MPP and other Trump immigration policies for the increase in the number of migrants caught crossing the southern US border, which has reached 20-year highs in recent months.
The migrant crisis at the southern border with Mexico came under the spotlight again last week after images showed US Border Patrol agents on horseback seen whipping Haitian migrants.
The images appeared of riders on horseback rounding up Haitian migrants and using their reins in an aggressive manner. The brutal treatment of the migrants by the US border agents drew a swell of criticism toward the Biden administration’s handling of the issue.
Biden denounced his administration’s treatment of Haitian migrants at the southern border.
“To see people treated like they did, horses barely running them over and people being strapped. It was outrageous. I promise those people will pay,” Biden said.
Vice President Kamala Harris also condemned the US treatment of Haitian migrants at the southern border, saying images of American border patrol agents on horseback whipping the migrants evoked “times of slavery.”
Harris said the imagery, which circulated widely on social media, reminded her of tactics “used against the Indigenous people of our country” and that have “been used against African Americans during times of slavery.”
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, however, blatantly defended US Border Patrol agents, saying he would hire them if they were fired by the federal government.
“You have a job in the state of Texas,” he told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “I will hire you to help Texas secure our border,” after images and videos circulated of American border patrol agents on horseback using whips on migrants seeking asylum.
Abbott said the fault for any misbehavior should be placed on President Biden and his administration because they didn’t keep the Haitian migrants from crossing from Mexico into Del Rio, Texas.
The influx of migrants, in particular unaccompanied children, came after Biden unwound Trump’s hardline immigration policies immediately after he assumed office in January.
Biden issued a flurry of immigration-related executive decisions, including orders to end “extreme immigration enforcement”, and preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which gives work permits and protection from deportation to people brought illegally to the US as minors.
Biden also halted the construction of Trump’s Mexico border wall and ordered an end to the “Remain in Mexico” policy, under which tens of thousands of asylum applicants were awaiting rulings in Mexico.
Although the border was officially closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, about 65 percent of families and 15% of single adults were still released into the US to await their immigration cases.
The Biden administration has been sharply criticized by both fellow Democrats and Republicans for its handling of the refugee crisis at the border and failing to provide proper facilities with adequate facilities to the migrant children, exposing them to various dangers.
More than 4,300 unaccompanied children who crossed the US-Mexico border were held at a makeshift detention center in Texas under distressing conditions.
Biden’s order to use Trump-era detainment facilities to house migrant children – which Democrats would often use to accuse Trump of putting “kids in cages” – drew sharp criticism.
Most of them are teenagers from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador, though some have been reported to be as young as six.
Persecution, gang violence, and poverty are the reasons parents have seen sending them to seek refuge in the US, though they remain vulnerable to exploitation and sexual abuse along the way.
There have been 1.85 million border apprehensions this year, breaking a record of 1.64 million in 2000, according newly released projections.
Trump has said the US border situation will become “the greatest crisis in the history of our country.”