ProBAR is happy to share with you that we are celebrating several recent case victories. From mid-March to mid-June 2022, we have worked with more than 15 asylum seekers subject to Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program who have been granted asylum or protection under the Convention Against Torture!
The new asylees fought hard to accomplish this. Asylum seekers who are subject to the MPP program are forced to remain in Mexico until their cases are tried in the U.S. Asylum seekers subject to MPP have limited opportunities to access legal assistance and representation. Many report experiencing serious danger or harm while waiting in Mexico. Despite these challenges, these individuals persevered in presenting their asylum cases – preparing applications and submitting evidence, testifying at their hearings, and ultimately winning relief!
The Migrant Protection Protocols program was initially rolled out in 2019. In 2021, the program was terminated after a short wind-down period. However, the termination of MPP was challenged in federal court, and the court ordered the administration to resume the program. “MPP 2.0” was implemented in South Texas in late January 2022, with an expanded scope that potentially includes any asylum seeker from the Western Hemisphere. During the six-month period ending on May 31, more than 5,000 asylum seekers were placed in MPP at points along the border.
In February 2022, ProBAR launched an Immigration Court Helpdesk (ICH) program to respond to the legal needs of asylum seekers subjected to MPP. ProBAR’s team provides asylum seekers in MPP with group and individual orientations and asylum workshops, which are conducted at the “soft-sided tent court” at the Brownsville port of entry. The team also helps some asylum seekers with gathering country condition evidence or preparing I-589 Applications for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, working remotely when immigrants return to Mexico as they wait for their next hearing. When asylum seekers return to court for their merits hearings, ProBAR staff meet with them when possible to help them prepare to present their case to the judge. We are honored to have provided one or more form of assistance or support to these asylees as they navigated the system, and we are excited for this outcome in their cases.
ProBAR celebrates and welcomes these new asylees! At the same time, ProBAR recognizes the hardship faced by the more than 5,000 asylum seekers subjected to MPP since December 2021. Nationwide, only 27 people whose cases were finalized by May 31 were granted asylum or another form of relief.