The most successful of Trump’s anti-immigrant measures up until now — and possibly the most vicious — hasn’t been getting the attention it deserves.
In operation since late January, Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), originally called “Remain in Mexico,” allows the U.S. government to push most non-Mexican asylum seekers into Mexico once immigration officials have cleared them to make an asylum claim. As of early September, the number of people forced into Mexico under MPP had reportedly risen to more than 42,000.
Immigration authorities say that these migrants are able to pursue their asylum cases while waiting in Mexico, but this is nonsense. It’s difficult for impoverished asylum seekers to get legal representation even while inside the United States; from across the border, it’s virtually impossible. At the end of June, a grand total of 1.3 percent of these asylum-seekers had succeeded in finding a lawyer, according to an August report by the U.S. nonprofit Human Rights First. So far, only one of the applicants is known to have won asylum.