|(14 Jun 2022)
During the last six months, over 5,000 asylum seekers have been required to remain in Mexico under the current implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)—also known as MPP 2.0—while awaiting their Immigration Court hearings. Cases in MPP are generally being completed within the 180-day time frame set by the administration, but the problem with low rates of access to attorneys and unusually low rates of asylum success that plagued the first implementation of MPP continue this year.
As a result of low representation rates and accelerated hearings, just 27 people out of the 5,100 asylum seekers in MPP 2.0 so far, have received asylum or some other form of relief. These 27 cases account for just 2.4 percent of the 1,109 MPP 2.0 cases which have been completed to date. By contrast, during the same period of FY 2022, fully half of all Immigration Court asylum decisions decided for people inside the United States resulted in a grant of asylum or other relief.
While MPP 1.0 under Trump had also been designed to attempt to expedite processing of these asylum cases, MPP 2.0 is intended to speed case completions even further. Under current guidelines, cases assigned to MPP should be completed within 180 days. The Biden administration has been largely successful in meeting this deadline. During December 2021, a total of 129 asylum seekers were assigned to MPP 2.0, which means that most of these cases are reaching their 180-day deadline now (or soon). For these initial 129 cases, over eight out of ten (81%) were completed at the end of May. Nonetheless, it may be difficult for the Court to maintain this same processing pace as the monthly total of new MPP court filings has steadily grown to over 2,000 in May 2022.
MPP 2.0 cases have not been evenly spread among hearing locations. Cases added to MPP 2.0 in December were primarily heard by the El Paso Immigration Court which received 109 cases. The El Paso MPP court currently has 923 cases assigned to it. By contrast, the MPP Brownsville Immigration Court has now been assigned 2,752 new cases—more than half (54%) of all MPP 2.0 assigned cases as of the end of May. The MPP Laredo, Texas (Port of Entry) Immigration Court has been assigned 404 MPP cases, and an additional 76 cases have been assigned to the Laredo Immigration Court. The MPP Court San Ysidro Port has received 386 cases so far.
It is still early in the implementation of MPP 2.0, and TRAC's report on MPP 2.0 should be understood as a preliminary analysis However, these findings do raise concerns similar to MPP 1.0. Further detailed analysis will be warranted as more cases are added to the current implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols.
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