Unicef worried over reimplementation of migrant protocols at US-Mexico border


The Unicef has expressed worries over the reimplementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) at the US southern border with Mexico, as required by a court order, could put the safety and wellbeing of asylum-seeking children and their families at risk.

The MPP is a US government program, initiated in January 2019, under which the country returns to Mexico certain citizens and nationals of countries other than Mexico while their American removal proceedings are pending.

MPP applies to those who arrive from Mexico by land.

“Following the initial implementation of MPP in January 2019, more than 70,000 asylum seekers were forced to return to Mexico until US immigration courts could resolve their cases. Those subject to MPP, including many children and adolescents, waited for months in shelters and makeshift camps in Mexico without access to appropriate housing, hygiene, nutrition and essential services,” the UN agency said in a statement.

Although the Unicef welcomes “commitments from the US government to assist Central American countries in tackling the root causes of migration and provide humanitarian assistance to those in need”, it contended that the MPP could have “profound consequences for children, many of whom have been left with no safe options to escape dire conditions and threats in their home countries”.

“All migrant children have the right to protection, essential services, to live in adequate conditions with dignity and to be with their families.

“Children – no matter where they come from or what their migration status – are children first and foremost. It is imperative that all governments prioritize the protection and wellbeing of children in line with their best interests and guarantee their access to asylum procedures in a timely manner,” the Unicef statement added.

On June 1, the Secretary of Homeland Security determined that the MPP should be terminated and issued a memorandum to that effect.

On August 13 however, the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas determined that the June 1 memo was not issued in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act and ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to “enforce and implement MPP in good faith”.

On October 29, after an extensive and comprehensive review, the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a new memorandum terminating MPP, which DHS will implement as soon as practicable after issuance of a final judicial decision to vacate the Texas injunction.



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