Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation seeking to reinstate former President Donald Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) policy to curb the recent surge of illegal immigrants at the border.
The bill named, “Make the Migrant Protection Protocols Mandatory Act,” would require migrants who cross the southern border without proper documentation to remain in Mexico until their case is heard.
President Joe Biden has been facing criticism from more than a dozen Republican governors, as well as attorney generals in several U.S. states, for reversing the Trump-era policy by signing an executive order on Jan. 21, hours after his inauguration, that would “cease adding individuals into the [MPP] program.”
“President Biden’s failed immigration policies have created a crisis at our southern border,” Blackburn said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
“Over half a million illegal aliens have poured across our southern border since Biden decided to repeal President Trump’s successful policy that forced migrants to remain in Mexico while seeking asylum,” she said. “My legislation will stop Biden’s decision to catch and release migrants into our communities and reinstate President Trump’s Remain in Mexico program.”
Blackburn’s bill would, besides restoring the MPP program, also tighten restrictions on asylum seekers and mandate an end to the “catch and release” policy—a practice where an illegal immigrant gets released while he or she awaits hearings at an immigration court.
The MPP program was created by the Trump administration in January 2019 to help stem the flow of meritless asylum claims that were clogging up the system by the hundreds of thousands.
The program, commonly referred to as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated. Prior to its implementation, thousands of illegal immigrants were released into the United States to await their cases, most failing to appear in court and with illegal aliens often disappearing in the country, never to be seen again.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection released operational statistics in a press release on Tuesday that said border agents encountered more than 178,000 illegal aliens attempting to cross the southern border last month, representing a 3 percent increase over the previous month and the highest one-month total in two decades and an increase of more than 900 percent compared to one year earlier.
Blackburn is among other Republican lawmakers who have argued that Biden’s move to weaken or reverse Trump-era immigration policies prompted the current crisis at the southern border.
On Tuesday, 20 Republican governors called on Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to “take action” to deal with the crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, as throngs of people from Mexico and Central America continue to try and illegally cross into the country.
Li Hai contributed to this report.