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Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas during a House hearing in May 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a memo Tuesday officially terminating the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" program.

Why it matters: The program, known formally as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), forced tens of thousands of asylum seekers to await their immigration court proceedings in often dangerous and squalid conditions in Mexico.

  • DHS said approximately 68,000 people were returned to Mexico following their enrollment in MPP.

Context: President Biden issued an executive order in February to pause the program, and began allowing asylum seekers to enter the U.S. in phases.

  • Biden ordered DHS to "promptly review and determine whether to terminate or modify the program."
  • DHS said that between between Feb. 19 and May 25, approximately 11,200 people were allowed into the U.S. to wait for their hearings as part of the first phase of the rollback of MPP.
  • DHS said it is still processing asylum seekers in phases.

What they're saying: "I have determined that MPP does not adequately or sustainably enhance border management in such a way as to justify the program’s extensive operational burdens and other shortfalls," Mayorkas wrote in the memo to the leaders of the Customs and Border Protection, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and Citizenship and Immigration Services.

  • "Moreover, in making my assessment, I share the belief that we can only manage migration in an effective, responsible, and durable manner if we approach the issue comprehensively, looking well beyond our own border," the secretary added.
  • "As immigration courts designated to hear MPP cases were closed for public health reasons between March 2020 and April 2021, DHS spent millions of dollars each month to maintain facilities incapable of serving their intended purpose."
  • "Throughout this time, of course, tens of thousands of MPP enrollees were living with uncertainty in Mexico as court hearings were postponed indefinitely. As a result, any benefits the program may have offered are now far outweighed by the challenges, risks, and costs that it presents."

Go deeper: Biden administration to expedite immigration cases of undocumented families

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Aug 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Refugees face a future of rising walls and no safe harbor

A pair of Guatemalan asylum-seekers sit outside the San Ysidro crossing port at the U.S.-Mexico border. Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images

The Afghanistan situation — hundreds of thousands of people desperate to flee their country with few safe and accepting places to go — is just one sign of a future that will be shaped by a growing migration crisis.

Why it matters: Whether because of violence, persecution, climate change or economic distress, rising numbers of people will leave the only homes they've known in search of a safer and better life abroad — even as the politics in destination countries sours on accepting them.

Mayors feel powerless to reduce homelessness

Expand chart
Recreated from 2021 Menino Survey of Mayors; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

America's mayors know their constituents hold them accountable for homelessness, but many don't feel they have the tools or power to fix things, a brand new survey says.

Why it matters: While homelessness has become more acute during the pandemic, city leaders say they lack the money, staff or political support needed to make a meaningful difference.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.