WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Reports suggest the Trump administration plans to expand the “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy despite wide criticism from humanitarian groups and some lawmakers who say the government knows the policy is failing.
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley said DHS conducted a secret study of its so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy. Democratic senators want that study released to the public.
Merkley said the leaked report confirms what the senator’s own study of the program found: that asylum seekers are more vulnerable in Mexico.
The senator said the program, which is officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols, is effectively gutting the U.S. asylum system.
Merkley and other Democratic senators have sent a letter demanding DHS release the full “Red Team” report.
This week, the House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing to take its own look at the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
“These policies are blatantly illegal and immoral and indeed are the basis for some egregious human rights violations,” said Michael Knowles, a local union official representing federal immigration workers.
DHS disagrees. The agency released one assessment of the program, calling the policy indispensable and touting its “operational effectiveness.”
Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL) also defended the policy in the House hearing.
“Migrants under MPP program wait months compared to years,” he said.
-Merkley said that’s because many asylum seekers don’t have any way of receiving hearing notices in Mexico and many fall out of the process.