About the Data on the MPP Program

The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) were formally announced by the Trump administration on January 24, 2019. These protocols required that certain citizens from other countries entering illegally or seeking admission without proper documentation to the U.S. from Mexico were "returned to Mexico and wait outside of the U.S. for the duration of their immigration proceedings." Typically, individuals were only allowed to temporarily enter the U.S. to attend their court hearings.

Upon taking office in January 2021 President Biden ordered a review of MPP and on June 1, 2021 Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas terminated MPP. New procedures were also implemented for processing pending MPP cases (and later additional classes of MPP cases) through paroling these individuals into the United States and transferring MPP cases to regular Immigration Courts within the country for processing.

However, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on August 13, 2021 enjoined the termination of MPP and ordered DHS to "enforce and implement MPP in good faith[1]." A later December 13, 2021 Order of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's order.

These MPP tools allow the public to track proceedings in each Immigration Court case assigned to the MPP program under this "Remain in Mexico" policy from its initiation under President Trump to the present. Findings are based upon a detailed analysis of case-by-case Immigration Court records covering all cases that have been assigned to the MPP program. These individual case records were obtained through requests made by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), a unit within the Department of Justice where these administrative courts are situated.

Selecting Which TRAC Asylum Tool To Use

TRAC's four MPP tools all start with the same data. They differ by whether they examine all MPP cases or focus just on particular subclasses of MPP cases depending upon their status at the end of the Trump administration (January 2021).

  • All MPP cases. This tool allows users to examine all MPP cases as a single group.

  • Pending MPP Cases. This tool focuses on all MPP cases that were pending at the end of January 2021 or were subsequently assigned to the program.

  • Reopened MPP Cases. This tool focuses on all MPP cases that were closed at the end of January 2021 but have been subsequently reopened.

  • Remained Closed MPP Cases. This tool focuses on all MPP cases that were closed at the end of January 2021 and that have remained closed.

Using the Data Tool: Controlling Table and Graph Displays

TRAC's MPP web-query tools all work in a similar fashion and display data in three interconnected tables and a time series graph.

Graph: The time series graph displays the timeline on which the selected cases for each tool was based. The graph updates to reflect the subset of cases chosen in the table row category last selected. Mousing over a bar in this graph reveals the data value and date it represents. Either the number of cases or the percent of cases can be displayed by selecting the appropriate radial button. Other radial buttons allow the user to switch between displaying fiscal years, or displaying data month-by-month.

Interconnected Tables: Pulldown menus above each of the three tables control which variable or factor is displayed. Selections from the three tables below the graph should be made from left to right and allow the user to "drill" down or filter the data into narrower and narrower sub-categories. If you select a specific row in the left table, only those cases within that selection will display in the table to the immediate right.

The tables and graph are interconnected. Click on a row in the left table to display only cases within that class in the middle table and in the time series graph. Click on a row in the middle table to display only cases within that class in the right table and in the time series graph. Click on a row in the right table to display only cases within that class in the time series graph.

Pulldown Menus Above Each Table control the variable or factor displayed. Selections are common across all four tools.

Available Selections in Asylum Table Pulldown Menus

Time Period:

  • Fiscal Year Case Began. This selection displays cases based upon the date of the DHS Notice to Appear (NTA) which generally initiates the Court case. This selection displays all cases initiated during the entire fiscal year, or for the current fiscal year through the latest month that data are available. The federal government's fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30.

  • Month and Year Case Began. Similar but selection displays cases month-by-month.


  • Immigration Court - Jan 2021. This is the Court the case was assigned to as of January 2021. MPP cases were initially assigned to special MPP hearing locations along the border. Each of these was under an Immigration Court assigned administrative responsibility for handling proceedings in their geographic district. Courts are usually referred to by the city or place where they are located—what EOIR refers to as their "base city." Street addresses for all Courts are found here.

  • Hearing Location - Jan 2021. Records hearing location case assigned to as of January 2021. Each Immigration Court usually has more than one geographic location in which judges hold hearings. Special MPP hearing locations were set up along the border. Street addresses for hearing locations are found here.

  • Immigration Court - Current. This is the Immigration Court the MPP case is currently assigned to.

  • Hearing Location - Current. This is the hearing location the MPP case is currently assigned to.

Demographic Characteristics of Individual:

  • Nationality. The recorded nationality of the individual.

  • Language. The language recorded as spoken by the individual.

  • Age Group. The individual's age at the time the Notice to Appeal (NTA) initiating Immigration Court proceedings was issued. This is calculated by TRAC based on the date of birth (where this was recorded by EOIR) and the date on the NTA. Birthdate is not always present in EOIR records and was usually missing until fairly recently.

  • Gender. Whether the individual was recorded as a "male" or "female." Gender is not always present in EOIR records and was usually missing until fairly recently.

Case Characteristics:

  • Custody. Represents current detention status. That is, whether the individual remained detained, was detained but released from custody, or was never detained since court proceedings began.

  • Hearing Attendance - Jan 2021: This records whether the individual is still waiting for the first hearing, has always been present at hearings, or was not present at the last hearing (absentia decision) as of January 2021.

  • Hearing Attendance - Current. Current hearing attendance.

  • Outcome - Jan 2021: This records the decision or closure reason for the entire case, or whether the case is still pending as of January 2021. Outcomes include:

    • Pending. Case remains open and has not been closed.

    • Removal Orders. Immigration Court judge sustains the removal charge(s) against the individual and issues a removal order. The term "removal" is used in a generic sense and includes orders of deportation, exclusion, etc. A removal order bars the individual from returning to the U.S. for a period of years, or in some cases permanently.

    • Voluntary Departure Orders. Immigration Court judge sustains the removal charge(s) and issues an order of voluntary departure. A so-called "voluntary departure" is when the individual is required to leave the country but is not legally barred from returning.

    • Terminated (no grounds for removal). Immigration Court judge finds the removal charge(s) against the individual are not sustained and "terminates" the case. Situations where the alien has established eligibility for naturalization can be grounds for termination.

    • Relief Granted: Immigration Court judge sustains the removal charges but finds provisions in the immigration law entitle the individual to "relief" from removal, allowing them to enter and remain in this country.

    • Administrative/Other Closure: Immigration Court judge decides not to deport the individual for other unspecified reasons, or closes the case administratively or because of the failure of the government to prosecute the case. This category formerly included closures in which the individual was given temporary protected status.

  • Outcome - Current. Uses same categories described in Outcome above, but reflects current outcome in the case.

Change in Case Characteristics:

  • New MPP Case Since Jan 2021. Identifies cases that were assigned to MPP after January 2021.

  • Change to non-MPP Hearing Location. Identifies cases that were transferred from an MPP hearing location to a regular hearing location.

  • Change in Representation. Compares whether an individual was or wasn't represented as of January 2021 and their current representation status.

  • Change in Outcome. Compares the outcome as of January 2021 with their current outcome status.


[1] See December 2, 2021 DHS memorandum providing "Guidance regarding the Court-Ordered Reimplementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols.

Additional TRAC Immigration Enforcement Data and Tools

To access additional data using other TRAC immigration enforcement tools, go to this directory of data tools.