United States to reopen southern borders to asylum seekers Feb 19 - DHS

If US won`t `get moving,` China will `eat our lunch`: Joe Biden

The Trump administration implemented the Migrant Protection Protocols, often referred to as "Remain in Mexico", in January 2019.

The MPP initiative forced more than 65,000 non-Mexican asylum seekers back across the border to wait for their US court hearings, although far fewer are believed to still be waiting in Mexico.

The United States reported almost 3,900 new deaths from COVID-19 Thursday, pushing the USA death toll past 475,000, by far the highest in the world.

"Last night, I was in the phone for two straight hours with Xi Jinping", Biden told reporters - an unusually long interaction for a U.S. president, with whom even face-to-face meetings rarely stretch beyond an hour.

"Honestly, I have no words for how I'm feeling right now!"

After Biden took office on 20 January, his administration announced that it would reverse the most controversial measures and created a task force to reunite families that remain separated, a policy his administration has termed a "national shame". Some have been waiting for as long as two years.

Republicans embracing Mr. Trump's hardline immigration views have criticised the ending of MPP and could use it as fuel for political attacks if illegal immigration increases on Mr. Biden's watch. Administration officials say the vast majority of people who cross the border illegally are quickly expelled under a public health order that Trump put in place in March amid the coronavirus pandemic. It also remains unclear how migrants will be tracked once they are admitted back into the U.S.

President Donald Trump tours a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Alamo Texas. During the Trump administration's final weeks the Department of Homeland Security quietly signed agreements with at least fou

The admissions will start slowly at three border crossings on February 19; officials will use one port of entry in California and two in Texas for this process. This group is estimated to include about 25,000 people. Those with non-active cases, many of whom may have returned to their home countries, "will have other opportunities", one of the officials said.

Progressive critics worry that moving from a communication process reliant on physical addresses to an internet and phone-based system might not solve the problem of vulnerable migrants being denied a chance in court.

USA authorities emphasized that they are working closely with the Mexican government and with worldwide organizations and NGOs at the border.

DHS is expected to "announce a "virtual registration process" available online and by phone for people to learn where and when they should report", according to the news outlet. The effort will expand to additional ports over time.

Lopez Obrador said he hoped to discuss with Biden a work visa program for Mexicans and Central Americans.

"President Joe Biden's administration declined to publicly identify the three crossings out of fear it may encourage a rush of people", the Associated Press reported.

Migrants entering the United States through the program will not be placed in detention centers, but could be subject to an alternative form of monitoring, including ankle bracelets. The U.N. migration agency's Mexico director, Dana Graber Ladek, said last month that it would seek to inform and support asylum-seekers on any changes in the "Remain in Mexico" policy. At one point, she even admitted that there are certain parts of the border where Biden's policies are failing to catch migrants.

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