SAN DIEGO — The Biden administration is unveiling plans to handle the thousands of migrants stranded at the border seeking asylum. Friday they announced an estimated 25,000 asylum-seekers waiting in Mexico for their next immigration court hearings will be allowed into the United States while their cases proceed.
The admissions will start slowly at three border crossings on Feb. 19; officials will use one port of entry in California and two in Texas for this process.
Before coming into the U.S., all migrants will first be given a medical screening in Mexico, including a COVID-19 test administered by the United Nations migration agency, according to the LA Times.
The move is a major step toward dismantling one of former President Donald Trump’s most consequential policies to deter asylum-seekers from coming to the U.S.
About 70,000 asylum-seekers were enrolled in the “Remain in Mexico” program, also known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, since it was introduced in January 2019. The policy required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases in the U.S. moved forward, effectively stranding people along the border.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said this is an "initial phase" of restarting the asylum process, but that "changes (to immigration policy) will take time."