Trump Administration to Implement ‘Remain-in-Mexico’ Policy at Arizona Border Patrol Sector

November 22, 2019 Updated: November 23, 2019

The United States Department of Homeland Security is planning to expand the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program to the Tucson Sector, a U.S. Border Patrol sector that has not been instructing asylum seekers to remain in Mexico when they await immigration court hearings, according to federal officials as stated in a Washington Post article.

Under the MPP policy, which is colloquially known as “Remain in Mexico,” foreign nationals who seek asylum at ports of entry on the Southern border from Mexico can be sent to Mexico while they wait for a hearing in an immigration court located in the United States. During their stay, the Mexican government will provide these individuals with humanitarian protection and care.

The MPP program has been much expanded since it was first implemented at the San Ysidro Port of Entry by the Trump administration this January. It now includes the Calexico and El Paso Port of Entries, as well as the San Diego, El Centro, and El Paso Border Patrol Sectors.

Federal officials say that once MPP is established with the Tucson Sector, each day there will be buses transporting migrants from Tucson to El Paso, according to the Washington Post. In El Paso, migrants will have interviews to determine if they would be at risk in Mexico. If not, they will be sent across the Texas-Mexico border to Ciudad Juárez to await their immigration court hearings.

Officials explain that the Tucson Sector has lagged behind in the MPP program, mainly because there have been far fewer families crossing the Arizona-Mexico border, making Tucson a less urgent target, the Washington Post reported. But Tucson has recently encountered an influx of migrant families.

Last week, the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector posted on Twitter that 135 people, mostly Central Americans traveling as families, surrendered to patrol agents near Sasabe, in “two different events” over the weekend.

In an earlier news release, the agency reported that the Tucson Sector apprehended a total of 6,352 individuals this October. Of those, 2,968 were in family groups or were unaccompanied children who surrendered to agents.