Before this policy went into effect, illegal immigrant families knew that if they crossed the border and claimed asylum, they’d effectively get a free pass. Immigration officials would release them into the U.S. within 20 days, on the promise that they would show up for their court date months in the future. Few bother to return. This policy was dubbed “Catch and Release” for a reason.
Now, they must wait in Mexico while immigration judges review their cases.
What “Remain in Mexico” revealed is how few asylum seekers have legitimate claims. In fact, judges granted asylum in less than 1% of the more than 10,000 MPP claims resolved so far, according to TRAC Research Center at Syracuse University.
The impact of this program has been little short of profound.
The number of apprehensions at the southwest border plummeted from 144,000 in May 2019 to just 42,649 in November – the last month for which the government has data. The number of families caught crossing illegally went from 84,486 in May to a mere 9,000 in November.
As the El Paso Times put it, “the policy has proved to be a virtual wall.”