The Biden Administration recently announced that they would be building tent sites for migrants in the Texas border cities of Laredo and Brownsville. The announcement for the ‘tent cities’ was made in preparation for reinstating the Trump-era “Remain In Mexico” policy. It is formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols program, which Biden rolled back shortly after taking office.
But Customs and Border Protection Chief Operating Officer Blas Nunez-Neto announced that they would be resuming the policy in mid-November after months of the Biden administration trying to end it. A federal judge restored the policy, which would require asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while they wait for their hearings on U.S residency. The administration said they would comply with the Supreme Court order and have already started working with foreign counterparts to allow the return of tens of thousands of people to Mexico.
The tent cities, otherwise known as ‘tent courts,’ would cost American taxpayers $24.6 million a month to operate, including the rebuilding of many facilities and hiring contractors to build them. Rebuilding the sites will cost the federal government $14 million alone.
The program had first been implemented under former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson, which allowed agents to send back anyone seeking asylum. Those enrolled in the program would live in Mexico border towns waiting for their U.S court date. Former President Donald Trump created the program with the intent that it would stop border crossers from being released into the U.S.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed that the program had “mixed effectiveness” as the number of families increased under a program that was meant to “deter people.” But now, the program is being implemented as a way to deal with the growing number of families arriving at the border. The Biden administration has refused to take any action and the court has agreed that it is “impossible” to detain that many families at the ports.
Federal officials also note that the program will be implemented due to the Flores Settlement Agreement, which does not allow the government to detain families in immigration custody for more than 20 days.
Some critics of the administration note that the damage had already been done at the beginning of Biden’s presidency, as more than 375,000 of 473,682 immigrants had been released by federal law enforcement. They were released to go anywhere in the country, including those who weren’t even seeking asylum.
The ICE stated the main reasons for the move was due to difficulty in holding families and lacking the bed space. Migrants are given notice of when to appear back for a court hearing, but the agency notes that they do not track the “individual outcomes” of those who were transferred out of Border Patrol.
The tent cities will be large-scale encampments intended for those waiting on a U.S immigration court date. The administration continues to focus and prioritize the wrong things, all while it comes out of the taxpayers’ wallets.