Refugees International Statement on Biden Administration’s New Remain in Mexico Policy

Please see below statement from Refugees International Senior U.S. Advocate Yael Schacher:

“Refugees International is deeply concerned by the Biden administration’s announcement that it will begin a new Remain in Mexico program. While the administration has stated it has no choice in the matter, its actions on Remain in Mexico reflect a lack of moral clarity and a position on asylum that is not sufficiently distinct from that of the Trump administration.

Secretary Mayorkas, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and non-governmental organizations on both sides of the border have recognized that inherent features of the Remain in Mexico policy make it impossible — no matter how the program is reformed or how many resources expended — to implement without subjecting asylum seekers to unreasonable risk and leading to unjustifiable human costs.

We welcome the strong statements by Secretary Mayorkas in support of the legal right to seek asylum at the border, but the administration’s actions have not matched its rhetoric.

In particular –

  • While the initial court ruling that required re-implementation of Return to Mexico policy was issued in early August, the administration took more than two months to respond with a stronger justification for eliminating the Trump administration policy—and this made it far more difficult not to proceed with resumption of this discredited program.
  • Despite its stated condemnation of the program, the administration is actually expanding its application to include Haitians, rather than appropriately narrowing its application.
  • The administration has still retained the Trump administration’s Title 42 border expulsion policy that is just as damaging, if not more damaging, to the rights and interests of asylum seekers

If administration officials believe that people from the Western Hemisphere who need protection should be able to pursue asylum from within the United States, it is time to stop hedging on this question.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Refugees International Director of Communications Sarah Sheffer at or +1 202 540 7029.

PHOTO CAPTION: A Customs and Border Protection officer questions immigrants in Rio Grande Valley sector of the Texas border on Aug. 20, 2019. (Photo by Jinitzail Hernández/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)