This January 21, just one day after the inauguration of the new US president, Joe Biden, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador applauded the immigration policies adopted by the new leader of the White House. AMLO celebrated the suspension of the border wall works promoted by Donald Trump and the cessation of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program, which has left thousands of migrants stranded on the border with the United States.
Joe Biden’s immigration policy begins to be well received in Latin America. And Mexico is one of the nations in the region that will most feel the effects of what may or may not result from the approach of the new US president in this matter.
After his surprising harmony with the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, and it took more than a month to recognize Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential elections, this Thursday the Mexican head of state, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) endorsed orders issued by Biden.
With executive orders signed the same day as his inauguration, the White House leader halted the construction of the controversial border wall, suspended deportations for 100 days – albeit with some exceptions – and protected the DACA program. Biden also introduced a bill to make way for millions of undocumented citizens to citizenship.
“We have nothing to object to, on the contrary. We agree that this is what must be done. We see it well, very well,” López Obrador said during a press conference at the National Palace.
The Mexican president stressed that his US counterpart wants to “regularize Mexican residents and residents of other nationalities who are living in the United States” and celebrated that “he will provide facilities” so that the 38 million Mexicans living in that country have “the double nationality”.
The new Executive suspends the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program
The United States Department of Homeland Security suspended on the first day of the Biden Administration the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, known as ‘Remain in Mexico’, which forces asylum seekers on US soil to wait for their processing in Mexican territory, which has stranded thousands of migrants at the border.
Biden suspends the #MPP program starting tomorrow.
This is a good first step to reform our asylum system. The “Remain in Mexico” policy only pushed people to horrible living areas along the border without the needed support to complete an application for relief. pic.twitter.com/JUAxChXAJ9
– Sam Cervantes 💡 (@s_crvnts) January 21, 2021
The program was suspended from this Thursday, January 21. However, current non-essential travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic will remain in effect, according to a statement from the agency. “All current MPP participants should remain where they are, pending further official information from US government officials,” the department said.
The official statement also explains that President Biden’s executive orders granting legal status to undocumented migrants do not apply to people in this program, because they are not in the United States. ‘Remain in Mexico’ was implemented in January 2019 and promoted by then-President Trump.
11 million undocumented people are one step closer to citizenship
One of the measures most awaited by the Hispanic community is an immigration bill that Biden presented on his first day in office, which, if approved in Congress, would give free access to citizenship to at least 11 million undocumented people in the country.
This process would take approximately eight years, but for some migrants the so-called ‘Green card’ would be automatic, according to the vice president, Kamala Harris, indicated days before taking office.
According to Harris, for those who are already beneficiaries of the Deferred Action (DACA) programs, aimed at those who came to the United States as children, and for those who enjoy Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which covers to thousands of people who are victims of conflicts, many of them from El Salvador, the regularization of their immigration status would be much faster.
If this measure is endorsed by both houses of the US Congress, it will be the biggest step to regularize the immigration status of people without papers since the amnesty that then-President Ronald Reagan granted to three million people in 1986.
With Reuters, EFE and local media