Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Biden Breaks Pledge to Migrants

 As we all know promises made in an election campaign are seldom kept.

Almost a year ago Biden pledged “On day one, I will eliminate President Trump’s decision to limit asylum and end the MPP program ”

Now two of his appointees, say the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP), will not be immediately suspended and that Biden will “need time” to undo Trump’s immigration policies.

Incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan told Spanish wire service EFE that policies including "Remain in Mexico," will not be immediately suspended.

"...putting the new policy into practice will take time," he stated, qualifying Biden's previous pledge that the program will end "early in his administration."

 More than 66,000 asylum-seekers have been turned away at the U.S.-Mexico border and forced to live in tent cities without access to sufficient medical care, suitable shelter, or legal aid has led to a humanitarian crisis in northern Mexico as people wait for their asylum claims to be processed in U.S. courts.

Susan Rice, Biden's new domestic policy adviser placed the reason for the delay upon the pandemic. She said Trump's policy will continue for an unspecified period of time under the Biden administration.

 However, on Monday public health experts issued a statement urging the incoming Biden administration to use "effective, evidence-based public health measures" to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 at the southern border—not "bans, expulsions, and asylum denials."

"The Trump administration has misused public health authority as a ploy to attempt to justify expulsions that endanger human lives," said Monette Zard, associate professor and director of the Program on Forced Migration and Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. "The Biden administration should end this abuse of public health authority, ensure public health decisions are made by public health officials without pressure to advance migration policy or other political objectives and use public health measures to safely process the cases of families, adults and children seeking protection at our borders."

Back in May, the campaigners Human Rights First accused Trump of using the "pandemic as pretext" in order to carry out "its long-held ambition to eliminate humanitarian protections for asylum-seekers."

In July, the International Rescue Committee issued its own report saying the administration was using the pandemic as an excuse to turn away asylum seekers, and wrote that the U.S. government is capable of meeting its humanitarian obligations while mitigating the risk of spreading Covid-19. 

Rice indicated that the Biden administration may focus on changing immigration policy through legislative steps rather than executive authority. If so, then that will be a very protracted process.

From “Day One” to We Will “Need Time,” Team Biden Walks Back Vow to End Trump Attack on Asylum Seekers | Common Dreams News

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