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Migrant Protection Protocols (Biden Administration Archive - February 2021)

DHS Terminates MPP and Continues to Process Individuals Who Were Enrolled in MPP Into the United States to Complete Their Immigration Proceedings

On June 01, 2021, following careful review of the program as directed by President Biden in Executive Order 14010, the Secretary of Homeland Security terminated the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program. This announcement does not impact the processing of MPP-enrolled individuals into the United States as described below.

On February 19, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began processing into the United States certain individuals who had been returned to Mexico under the MPP program and had pending cases before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). In its continued efforts to restore safe and orderly processing at the Southwest Border, DHS is now expanding the eligible pool of MPP-enrolled individuals for such processing. Beginning June 23, 2021, DHS is expanding eligibility for U.S. processing to also include MPP enrollees who had their cases terminated or who were ordered removed in absentia (i.e., individuals ordered removed while not present at their hearings).

Individuals who believe they may be eligible for processing should stay where they are currently located. Registration is available online through https://conecta.acnur.org, and there is no need to approach or cross any borders to access this process.

We strongly discourage anyone from approaching the U.S. border without proper documentation or instructions to present themselves at a specific port of entry. Individuals who attempt to cross illegally are putting themselves and their families at risk, especially during a global pandemic.

The MPP program was initiated in 2019. Under this program, certain individuals who arrived at the Southwest Border were returned to Mexico pursuant to Section 235(b)(2)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to await immigration proceedings under Section 240 of the INA. On January 21, 2021, DHS suspended the program and since then, no new individuals have been enrolled. DHS terminated the program on June 1, 2021. DHS terminated the program on June 1, 2021.

As outlined in the President’s executive actions, the United States is committed to reforming our immigration system, addressing the root causes of irregular migration in the region, and ensuring safe, orderly, and humane processing at our border. Addressing MPP enrollees with ongoing removal proceedings, proceedings that were terminated, or proceedings that resulted in in absentia removal orders are steps toward achieving these goals.

DHS is collaborating with the Departments of State and Justice, as well as international and non-governmental organizations, and regional partners, in this effort.

First, individuals who believe they may be eligible for processing may register via the online support hub at https://conecta.acnur.org, where they will be asked to provide basic information to confirm eligibility. Through the support hub, they can ask questions about their case. There is also a telephone hotline to answer questions and offer support. The support hub is operated by facilitating organizations with the support of the U.S. Government.

Next, facilitating organizations will transmit registration information to DHS to verify that the individual is eligible for processing into the United States. Based on DHS-provided criteria, facilitating organizations will prioritize eligible individuals based on their date of enrollment in MPP and other factors.

Individuals who are determined to be eligible for processing will be contacted by facilitating organizations and provided instructions for accessing a designated staging location, where they will complete a health questionnaire and undergo testing for COVID-19. Those who test negative will receive further assistance in preparation for U.S. processing. Those who test positive will receive support from facilitating organizations to isolate and/or seek treatment in line with the policy of the relevant local health authority in Mexico. Following isolation and screening, such individuals will again be eligible for processing. At staging sites, facilitating organizations will provide EOIR-33 Change of Address forms and offer additional legal orientation and support.

Individuals who complete the testing and screening requirements above will be transported from staging sites to designated ports of entry for processing into the United States. If the Change of Address form is complete, DHS will use this form to administratively move cases to the immigration court closest to the identified address. Unless an individual presents a national security or public safety concern, the individual will generally be assessed for enrollment in an alternative-to-detention program, released by DHS, and provided instructions for contacting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at their destination.

This process is available to a limited set of individuals who were returned to Mexico under MPP. MPP enrollees are eligible for this process only if their cases fall into one of three categories:

  1. their immigration proceedings remain pending;
  2. their immigration proceedings were terminated before reaching a decision; or
  3. they received an in absentia removal order.

Individuals who were ordered removed after attending their removal hearings are not eligible for this process. Case status information is available on the EOIR website in English and Spanish (under “Automated Case Information” on the right side).

Those who believe they may be eligible for this process can register through the virtual hub at https://conecta.acnur.org. Individuals can access this link, available online from any location, to register and obtain information. Once registered, individuals should remain where they are to await further instructions. Facilitating organizations will confirm eligibility and, once confirmed, will send instructions on next steps, depending on their unique case circumstances and location.

MPP enrollees whose immigration cases were terminated or who received removal orders in absentia should register for this process online at https://conecta.acnur.org. Once eligibility is confirmed, individuals will be contacted by facilitating organizations and provided additional instructions.

Facilitating organizations will work with individuals to prepare necessary documents in advance, including documents to reopen cases for individuals with in absentia removal orders. Upon the successful completion of these pre-processing steps, individuals will be given instructions for accessing a designated staging location, where they will complete a health questionnaire and undergo testing for COVID-19 prior to arriving at the port of entry.

The Administration’s policy is to protect our national and border security, address the humanitarian challenges at the U.S.-Mexico border, and ensure public health and safety. Resolving the situation of vulnerable migrants at our borders is consistent with both our national interests and our values as a nation. The United States will prioritize the public health and safety of our communities, U.S. government personnel, and migrants throughout the process.

DHS will employ all necessary safety precautions in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for unvaccinated individuals, including mandatory face coverings and social distancing. Individuals processed through this program will be tested for COVID-19 before entering the United States. At staging sites in Mexico, facilitating organizations will use antigen testing for COVID-19, temperature checks, and health questionnaires to determine whether individuals intending to present at ports of entry have COVID-19 or other communicable diseases.

After being cleared, facilitating organizations will transport individuals to designated ports of entry in accordance with applicable physical distancing guidelines. Surgical masks will be provided for any individual who lacks an appropriate face covering. Facilitating organizations will also provide individuals the same CDC instructions given to international air travelers. DHS will only process individuals consistent with its capacity to safely do so while fully executing its important national security and trade and travel facilitation missions.

A virtual registration process, accessible online from any location, is available via https://conecta.acnur.org. Once registered, individuals confirmed as eligible for this process will be provided additional information about their case-specific steps, including where and when to present themselves at staging sites. Facilitating organizations will support individuals in the program and ready them for processing into the United States.

Approaching or crossing borders without proper documentation or waiting near ports of entry is dangerous and discouraged. Registration for this process does not happen at the border, but through https://conecta.acnur.org and intake interviews with facilitating organization staff.

Once registered, individuals determined to be eligible for processing are provided information to access one of several staging locations along the border. At these locations, individuals are provided information and tested for COVID-19 before being transported to designated ports of entry. DHS is currently processing scheduled cases in San Ysidro, CA; El Paso, TX; Eagle Pass, TX; Laredo, TX; Hidalgo, TX; and Brownsville, TX. As a reminder, intake for this process does not occur at ports of entry, but through this website: https://conecta.acnur.org.

We strongly discourage individuals from approaching the border without proper documentation or instructions to present themselves at a specific port of entry. Those who attempt to cross illegally are putting themselves and their families at risk, especially during a global pandemic.

No. Individuals who are eligible for this process but are located in a country other than Mexico should remain where they are and follow the directions to identify themselves through https://conecta.acnur.org. Those who register and are determined to be eligible for processing will receive specific instructions with next steps.

To the extent possible, individuals will need to arrange their own transportation. If needed, there are networks of non-governmental organizations that may be able to help arrange transportation and shelter in route to your final destination.

The United States continues to strictly enforce existing immigration laws and border security measures. DHS will follow existing protocols—including biometric checks—to identify individuals who pose a threat to the American public. Anyone determined to pose a national security or public safety threat will be referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for a custody determination.

DHS and the Departments of State and Justice are working as expeditiously as possible but have not set a deadline by which the process will end.

Facilitating organizations will generally prioritize individuals based on their enrollment date into MPP, while also considering other criteria provided by DHS. Those who have been waiting the longest will generally be prioritized first, along with those who find themselves in particularly vulnerable situations.

Facilitating organizations will request more information and contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to seek resolution.

This new process is meant to provide an opportunity to individuals who were returned to Mexico under MPP to proceed with their immigration proceedings from within the United States. Entry into the United States through this process does not guarantee the right to stay in the United States, nor does it impact eligibility for relief or protection from removal. The process, however, will facilitate individuals’ ability to appear before an immigration judge and have their claims heard. If a claim is denied, and any appeal process runs its course, the individual will be subject to removal from the United States.

The safety of the American public and all those we encounter remains a top priority. Depending on the circumstances of a particular case, DHS may take an individual into custody or enroll the individual into an alternative-to-detention (ATD) program at the port of entry. Otherwise, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will consider enrolling individuals into ATD or other case management programs after arrival at their final destination.

This process is meant to provide an opportunity for all eligible individuals to be processed into the United States in a fair and efficient manner consistent with public health measures. DHS strongly discourages individuals from attempting to circumvent the established process facilitated by international organizations. Individuals should not approach the border without proper documentation or otherwise attempt to cross illegally between ports of entry.

Any individuals who are encountered between the ports of entry, or who otherwise attempt to enter the United States without inspection or parole, will be apprehended and processed according to all applicable immigration laws and border security priorities, which could include detention and removal. Any individual who illegally enters the United States and is placed into removal proceedings, or any individual who has previously been ordered removed from the United States, may be considered inadmissible to the United States in the future.

Case Status: Individuals are able to access case status information as long as they know their A-number (the nine-digit number that begins with the letter “A” and is found in the upper right-hand corner of the Notice to Appear and other immigration-related documentation). Case information can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via EOIR’s Automated Case Information Portal or at 1-800-898-7180 (toll-free).

Address Update: Individuals in removal proceedings need to ensure that their address is up to date with the immigration court. Every time individuals move residences, they should update their addresses by submitting an EOIR-33, Change of Address Form (by mail or in person) to the court location where their cases are currently docketed.

Legal Assistance: For individuals searching for legal assistance, EOIR publishes a List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers corresponding to each court location.

Self Help Materials: Individuals who are not represented by counsel or who need additional resources can access resources on EOIR's Self-Help Materials website, including information on the topics listed below:

  • Accessing an Attorney
  • Appeal
  • Asylum
  • Bond
  • Change of Address and Change of Venue
  • EOIR Self- Help Legal Centers
  • Fraud
  • Missed Hearing
  • Notice to Appear
  • Self-Help Guides to Immigration Removal, Proceedings and Common Forms of Relief
  • T-Visa
  • U-Visa
  • Voluntary Departure

Civil Rights Complaint: If an individual believes that DHS policies or activities have violated their civil rights or civil liberties, they may file a complaint with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL). More information can be found on the CRCL Compliance Branch website.

Last Updated: 01/24/2023
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