NGO Letter and Recommendations on MPP Wind Down
Dear Secretary Blinken, Attorney General Garland, and Secretary Mayorkas:
Our faith-based, humanitarian, legal services, immigration, and human rights organizations and law school clinics welcome the steps taken by the administration to begin to wind down the illegal and cruel Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). We applaud the humane reception of the more than 10,000 people brought to safety in the United States to date, but we are deeply concerned by the slowing pace of MPP processing at some ports of entry and the lack of an announcement of or any public information on the next phase of the MPP wind down. In February 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that individuals who do not have “active” MPP cases should “await further instructions,” referring to the processing of individuals with “active” MPP cases as “the first phase of a program to restore safe and orderly processing at the southwest border.” We write to provide our recommendations—building upon those many of our groups made in March—on actions the administration should immediately take to continue and improve the process to end MPP. We also request further engagement and coordination with our groups to ensure people seeking refuge can find safety in the United States.
We continue to urge DHS to improve current MPP wind down processing and immediately move ahead with a second phase to include all individuals subjected to MPP, increase MPP processing sites, ensure safe, accessible transportation for those being processed out of MPP, address continued issues with the registration process, better coordinate with bi-national humanitarian and legal service providers assisting asylum seekers, and provide necessary support for border communities welcoming asylum seekers.
In addition, as many of our groups have repeatedly written to this administration, DHS must stop the misuse of Title 42 to block and expel asylum seekers, including many Indigenous and Haitian families and adults, to persecution and other danger. The Title 42 policy is damaging public health, exacerbating threats to migrants in Mexican border towns and causing thousands of family separations that endanger the lives of migrant children. Its continued use to block asylum protections at the border damages the administration’s public health credibility and undermines its professed adherence to science and transparency.
DHS should immediately restore refugee protections at the border, as required by U.S. law and treaty commitments, and process requests for asylum, including at and between ports of entry. The agency should ensure that asylum seekers who have been waiting months or years to request protection as a result of the Trump administration’s policies of limiting asylum processing at ports of entry through metering and Title 42 are swiftly processed and redress provided for asylum seekers denied protection under other illegal Trump administration policies. It is crucial that the administration’s decisions and plans be clearly, effectively, and publicly communicated to ensure asylum seekers understand how they will be brought to safety and to avoid further confusion at the border.