MPP Cases Highest Since Start of Pandemic
(20 Oct 2020) According to Immigration Court records obtained by TRAC, the number of new deportation cases under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) is on the rise after a year of month-over-month declines. Also known as "Remain in Mexico," under MPP individuals seeking asylum at the country's southwest border have been sent back to Mexico to await their immigration hearings. The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it would take up the question of whether the MPP program is illegal.

In September 2020, the Immigration Court recorded 1,133 new MPP cases, up from a low of 136 in May, and the highest since the start of the pandemic in March when 2,282 MPP cases were filed. A total of 24,540 MPP cases are currently pending before the Immigration Court.

Most of the 1,133 cases filed in September 2020 were for asylum-seekers from Cuba (527), Ecuador (428), Nicaragua (84), Brazil (46), and Venezuela (14). Earlier this year, TRAC found that Cubans, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, and Brazilians were among the fastest-growing nationalities in the Immigration Court backlog.

Just three out of 1,133-or less than 0.3%-immigrants had an attorney on record at the start of their cases. TRAC previously found that individuals in MPP are more likely to get an attorney in the months after their case begins, but in contrast to non-MPP cases, this number remains dismally low. Indeed, at the end of September 2020, just 7.3 percent (or 4,968) of the nearly 68,000 MPP cases recorded having representation.

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