Asylum-seekers under MPP in Nogales are stilling having to wait to be processed

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 10:33 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It’s been nearly two weeks after President Joe Biden ended the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, since then about 25,000 asylum-seekers along the southern border are being processed through port of entries in California and Texas.

However, that is still not the case in Nogales, AZ. For dozens of people who have waited more than a year in Mexico, they still have uncertainty of what the future holds for them.

Director of Communication with the Kino Border Initiative, Sara Ritchie, says at this time there is still no definitive timeline of when people will begin to be processed.

Those with active MMP cases have to go through what volunteers call ‘identity cases’ which are basically ID checks with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. However, most of the phone calls that were scheduled this week have already been postponed with no date given for a follow-up.

“So for those who receive the call, they were told to hold tight, for those who were supposed to receive the call, they never did, but received an apology email saying we will call you next week,” Ritchie mentions.

There has been no formal announcement from government officials as to which port of entry in Nogales people will have to be processed through. Volunteers mention that it will most likely have to be through the El Paso port, but that is not ideal for volunteers helping families navigate the asylum process. It poses a risk to the families.

“It’s through a dangerous part of the country and this is a vulnerable population,” said Ritchie.

Immigration attorney, Ray Ybarra, said that he feels frustrated that the same attention being given to other port of entries is not happening in Nogales.

“We demand that they give us answers now so that we can get our clients here, so the cases can be fought,” said Ybarra. But hopes the Biden administration continues to follow suit with his immigration policy promises.

“We see people in California celebrating their clients and their attorneys that their together, able to present their defense now, here were still waiting for those moments to happen,” mentions Ybarra.

Our team has reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials for a statement or an on-camera interview regarding when people under MPP will begin to be processed.

We still have not heard back.

Volunteer leaders mention they will continue having meetings with DHS officials about this matter. Until that happens, people under MPP still must remain in Mexico.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.