The Biden administration will make changes to the Trump-era "remain in Mexico" program, which it is restarting to comply with a court order, that will "essentially sabotage" its effectiveness, Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security under former President Donald Trump, said on Newsmax Monday.
"It could make an impact again if it's implemented correctly, but they're starting to make little changes to it that a lot of people don't realize and understand," Wolf said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America," explaining that one major change is that immigrants seeking asylum will be asked if they have a fear of returning to Mexico.
"You're going to see more people say yes because they don't want to wait in Mexico," said Wolf. "They're going to abuse the asylum system by saying they have a fear of returning to Mexico, whether they do or don't."
Under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) enacted during the Trump administration, people entering or seeking admission into the United States illegally or without documentation were to be returned to Mexico where they would wait for the duration of their immigration proceedings.
President Joe Biden, upon entering office in January, canceled the program, but the administration said last week it will restart the protocols. A federal judge ruled Biden's decision did not follow proper procedure and in August ordered the program to be reinstated. The administration said it had to wait until now while it worked out details with Mexico.
Wolf said Monday that he believes that ending MPP was one of the primary causes for the "historic border crisis" on the nation's border.
"My message to the Biden administration is welcome to the game," said Wolf. "What you should have been doing from day one is improving programs put in place under the Trump administration instead of canceling programs and causing the worst border crisis that we've seen in our lifetimes."
Now that the program has been discontinued for 10 months, reinstating it won't have an immediate effect, said Wolf.
"This is a sustained program that we had put in place that had to be up and running for many months for it to really to have an effect," he said.
The administration also continues to have a "credibility problem" on restoring the program because Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said he'll cancel it again once the court order to reinstate it is overturned, said Wolf.
In an October memo, Mayorkas wrote that "MPP had endemic flaws, imposed unjustifiable human costs, pulled resources and personnel away from other priority efforts, and did not address the root causes of irregular migration," and that the program "not only undercuts the Administration’s ability to implement critically needed and foundational changes to the immigration system, it fails to provide the fair process and humanitarian protections that individuals deserve under the law."
Plans to end the program send "exactly the wrong message" to migrants, cartels, and smugglers, because "they know that the Biden administration is not serious about implementing MPP," said Wolf.
"You've got to have the leadership and the will to implement this policy and stick with it, and I don't think that this administration has that," he added.
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