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Migrants in ‘Remain in Mexico’ bemoan confusing process

“I told the asylum officer I’d rather be in a U.S. detention center than be sent back to Mexico,” said Pedro, a 27-year-old asylum seeker from Nicaragua. “It’s dangerous for us.”

Chaos, confusion and disillusionment marked the experience of many of the first asylum seekers to be enrolled in the Biden administration’s revised “Remain in Mexico” program, saying they understood little about what was happening or why they were selected, the Washington Post reports.

The Trump-era program — formally known as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — returns border-crossers to Mexico to await the outcomes of their asylum claims and resumed earlier this month under court order. Although the Biden administration said it has made changes to the program that make it more humane, several of the first enrollees interviewed by The Washington Post said they did not understand documents they were asked to sign, did not have access to lawyers and were puzzled about why they were not released along with some of their compatriots.

Three men — two from Nicaragua and one from Venezuela — who were among the more than 160 migrants enrolled so far, said they had been robbed or extorted before crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The men, who were fleeing political persecution, said they hoped for relief in the United States, but instead felt as if they had won a raffle they never entered.

“I told the asylum officer I’d rather be in a U.S. detention center than be sent back to Mexico,” said Pedro, a 27-year-old asylum seeker from Nicaragua. “It’s dangerous for us.”

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