The US Department of the Interior said it was ending former President Donald Trump’s policy that requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until an immigration court hearing.
The ministry said in a statement that the program would be phased out “quickly and in an orderly manner,” stressing that “these policies are chronically flawed, cost unjustified, and divert resources and personnel from other priority efforts to secure our borders.”
Nearly 70,000 immigrants were subject to the policy, officially known as the Immigrant Protection Protocols, from when Trump enacted it in January 2019 until President Joe Biden suspended it on his first day in positions in January 2021, in fulfillment of the campaign promise. Many were allowed to return to the United States to hear their cases in the early months of the Biden presidency.
Almost 5,800 people passed through the policy from December to June. Immigrants from Nicaragua make up the largest number, as well as from Cuba, Colombia and Venezuela.
Trump has made the policy the cornerstone of border controls, which his critic says are inhumane and subject migrants to extreme violence in Mexico.