SAN DIEGO (AP/KGUN) — The Biden administration says an estimated 25,000 people who are seeking asylum and have been forced to wait in Mexico will be allowed into the U.S. while their cases wind through immigration courts.
Authorities plan to slowly let people in at three border crossings in Texas and California, starting on Feb. 19. It's a major step toward dismantling one of former President Donald Trump’s most consequential policies to deter asylum-seekers from coming to the U.S.
About 70,000 have been enrolled in the “Remain in Mexico” program since it was introduced in January 2019. Those being allowed back have active cases.
In a news release announcing the changes, the Biden administration is asking individuals not to take any action and should stay where they are and await further instructions instead. The news release says the White House will announce a virtual registration process soon where those hoping to claim asylum can learn more about where and when to present themselves.
"We caution people seeking to immigrate to the United States that our borders are not open, and that this is just the first phase in the administration’s work to reopen access to an orderly asylum process," the White House statement said.
The White House also says those who seek entry to the U.S. and do not have an active case under the Migration Protection Protocols program will be immediately expelled from the U.S.
When asked whether migrants at border crossing points in Arizona will be released soon, Customs and Border Protection sent this statement:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been actively monitoring the irregular migration of persons through Central America and Mexico in coordination with the Department of State and our regional partners for some time. At this time, Tucson Sector is only releasing migrants for humanitarian reasons on a case by case basis.