Immigration Attorneys Abandon Asylum Seekers

Allowing aliens to fend for themselves over MPP policy objections

By Robert Law on January 13, 2022

Advocates of unlimited immigration repeatedly and consistently criticized Trump administration policies as being “cruel” or “inhumane”. In reality, the Trump administration was actually just applying the laws passed by Congress but ignored or watered down by previous administrations. Immigration was largely absent from the 2020 presidential campaign but candidate Joe Biden vowed to offer up “humane” and “compassionate” policies.

Of course, there has been nothing compassionate about Biden’s immigration policies to date. The southern border has essentially been opened, with a record 1.7 million apprehensions in fiscal year 2021 — a period that included the last few months of the Trump administration. Every single one of those aliens who unlawfully appeared at a port of entry without a visa or snuck across the border did so under the shepherding of dangerous cartels and coyotes. This exposed these illegal aliens to all sorts of violence on the journey north and major debt to pay for their passage.

The Biden administration opened the floodgates on Day One by suspending the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP or Remain in Mexico). Trump’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented MPP in January 2019 to discourage fraudulent, frivolous, and otherwise nonmeritorious asylum claims by requiring most non-Mexicans to wait in Mexico throughout their removal proceedings. MPP was a highly effective deterrent that prevented economic migrants from making baseless asylum claims in order to be released into the country while the overwhelmed immigration courts set hearings many years into the future. This success frustrated advocates of unlimited immigration who view every alien from an impoverished or crime-ridden country as an “asylee” irrespective of the statutory definition of this form of humanitarian protection.

On June 1, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas terminated MPP via a seven-page memorandum to the acting heads of the three immigration components within DHS. As my colleague Andrew Arthur has detailed, Mayorkas’s reasoning was “somewhat perfunctory” and federal district court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk enjoined the termination in August 2021, finding that the memo failed to address DHS’s original October 2019 assessment of MPP. Complying with the courts, the Biden administration resumed MPP in November, a move required by law, that nonetheless angered migrant advocates.

These “advocates” are now upping the ante to show their displeasure with MPP by reportedly refusing to represent aliens subject to the policy before an immigration judge. Curiously, these same legal aid organizations used to trumpet data showing that aliens with representation are more likely to succeed with an asylum claim than those without counsel. Now, to make a political point, they are abandoning these “vulnerable” aliens to fend for themselves in immigration court, increasing the likelihood that they will be ordered removed.

Is this what “compassion” looks like to today’s advocates of unlimited immigration?