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Biden's govt expands 'Remain in Mexico' migrant program as it waits on appeals to end it

Vehicles wait in line at the Mexico-Unites States border to leave Tijuana, Mexico, and enter the United States on March 21, 2021. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI
1 of 4 | Vehicles wait in line at the Mexico-Unites States border to leave Tijuana, Mexico, and enter the United States on March 21, 2021. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 4 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden's administration has expanded implementation of the controversial "Remain in Mexico" immigration policy, which he inherited from former President Donald Trump, after multiple courts decided that the program must be reinstated.

The Migrant Protection Protocols program prevents migrants seeking asylum from entering the United States before immigration courts review their applications.

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Biden sought to end the program last summer, but was forced to reinstate it after a federal judge said it had been improperly terminated. Last month, the 5th Circuit Court rejected an appeal from the administration to end the program.

The Justice Department has since asked the Supreme Court to review the issue. In the meantime, officials have expanded the program with new policies in a bid to make it more humanitarian.

The Port of Entry is seen in San Ysidro, Calif. Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI

Enforcement has been expanded to San Diego after it restarted in Texas last month, officials said during a conference call with reporters Monday.

Biden's administration said migrants will now have access to transportation at ports of entry to take them directly to shelters in Mexico, where WiFi access has been improved.

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Officials say offering transportation is necessary to keep migrants safe due to crime levels at border crossings. Mexico officials have also agreed to increase security around the transportation centers.

Biden's government says it's working with legal groups to increase rates of legal representation and distributing documents providing "self-help" advice for migrants who need information on the immigration process.

Three dozen migrants were taken to El Paso in Texas on Monday for court hearings. They are the first to be processed under new rules.

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