Some asylum seekers waiting in Mexico under MPP can register to enter the United States

Last updated on March 23, 2021

On February 19, 2021, the United States started processing some asylum seekers who have been forced to wait for their court hearings in Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program.

This is part of President Biden’s announced goal to gradually end MPP, also known as the Remain in Mexico policy, which has prevented many asylum seekers from entering the United States while their asylum cases are pending in U.S. immigration courts.

If you told a U.S. immigration officer that you were afraid to return to your country and were sent back to Mexico to wait for your U.S. immigration court hearings, you are in MPP and this change may affect you. For now, only asylum seekers whose cases are pending before a U.S. immigration court will be able to register to enter the United States. Use this resource to find out if you have a hearing scheduled.

If you are in MPP and you have an active case in immigration court, review this presentation from the organization HIAS for information about what steps you need to take to be able to enter the U.S.

  • If you have an active case you can already register to start the process of entering the U.S. The government is prioritizing asylum seekers who have been waiting for the longest amount of time and are in vulnerable or dangerous situations.
  • You can register at this UNHCR website to receive information about next steps. Since its launch, the website has had technical issues. You will likely have to keep trying. You can also call the UNHCR telephone hotline at 1-800-226-8769 (or by WhatsApp at 55 2535 2950).
  • The U.S. government has said that you should not present at a port of entry until you are directly notified.
  • Before entering the U.S., you will receive a coronavirus test. If you meet the health and safety requirements, the U.S. government will allow you to enter without detaining you and will help transfer your case to the immigration court that is closest to where you plan to live.

We still do not know what the process will be like for people who are in Mexico who do not have a case pending before an immigration court in the U.S., such as people whose cases were denied, who received a deportation order for not being able to attend their scheduled immigration court hearing, who are still on waiting lists, or who are newly arriving to the border. For now, the U.S. government is still not allowing asylum seekers to enter the United States and is turning them away at the border or deporting them to their countries of origin.

If you recently entered the United States as part of the ending of MPP, you probably can apply for a work permit based on parole. Go here to find out more about work permits for people with parole.

Additional resources:

  • You can watch this video from the organization Las Americas for information about next steps for people in MPP (in Spanish).
  • You can read this resource created by the U.S. government for more specific information and answers to frequently asked questions.
  • If you are still in Mexico, you can find more information and ask questions at this website.
  • If you are currently at the Mexico-U.S. border, like this Facebook page for up-to-date information.
  • If you are now in the United States, become a member of ASAP to receive updates about the U.S. immigration process.
  • If you are an asylum seeker and you are not currently in MPP, you can find other helpful information for asylum seekers here.
  • You can read more detailed information released by the U.S. government here.

For more information and resources from the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) visit our website.

Note: This information is for individuals seeking asylum in the United States and is not a substitute for advice from an attorney.