House GOP eyes putting Trump-era migrant policy in place on northern border: ‘Remain In Canada’

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FIRST ON FOX: House Republicans are looking to echo a key Trump-era border policy, which kept migrants out of the U.S. for the duration of their immigration hearings, at the northern border with Canada – amid a sharp increase in apprehensions.

The “Remain in Canada Act,” introduced by Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, would duplicate the Remain-in-Mexico program – officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols – at the northern border. 

MPP was launched during the Trump administration and expanded across the border in 2019 as migrant encounters rose to what were then historic highs. The program saw court tents set up across the border, and migrants had to wait in Mexico for their asylum hearings rather than being released into the interior.

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Migrants at the northern border. (Customs and Border Protection)

Conservatives have credited the policy with ending the “pull factor” of release into the U.S. which they believe has encouraged migrants to make the journey north. Currently, migrants are frequently released into the interior to wait for their court hearings, which may be up to eight years away.

The Biden administration abolished the program, saying it was ineffective and left migrants in treacherous conditions in Mexico. Instead, it has pushed for initiatives to speed up asylum processing, including funding for immigration judges and a rule to bring the wait time down to a matter of months and allowing asylum officers to make final determinations on claims.

But, while there has been focus on the crisis at the southern border, the northern border has also seen a significant increase in encounters, going from 27,180 in FY 21 to more than 189,000 in FY 23.

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Brian Babin, Texas Republican, in blue coat, orange and gray tie

Rep. Brian Babin has introduced the legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The head of the Swanton Sector said in November that agents have seen a 550% increase in apprehensions, with migrants arriving from 79 different countries. The top five countries from which migrants originated were Mexico, India, Venezuela, Haiti and Romania.

Babin, who co-chairs the House Border Security Caucus, accused the Biden administration of an “intentional mass-replacement effort” and said something must be done as America’s borders are “overrun.” He said a 2023 agreement between the U.S. and Canada to return migrants back to Canada had failed to lower encounters.

“Under President Trump, we had the most secure borders seen in decades. President Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy worked to mitigate unlawful entry, secure the southern border, and hold Mexico accountable,” he said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “My new bill, the Remain in Canada Act, will implement the same policy at the northern border.” 

“Instead of blindly allowing parolees into our nation, my bill will add an important tool to stop illegal immigration: ensuring illegal entrants or asylum seekers coming from Canada are not allowed to freely roam our country and burden American taxpayers,” he said.

The nine co-sponsors on the bill include Reps. Andy Biggs., R-Ariz., Mary Miller, R-Ill., Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., and Keith Self, R-Texas.

black and white image of migrants crossing border

Migrants are seen crossing the northern border. (Customs and Border Protection)

The bill comes as immigration is looking to be a top 2024 issue, as the migrant crisis moves into its third year and the administration battles with Republicans over how to solve it.

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Republicans have called on the administration to re-implement Trump-era policies – including Remain-in-Mexico – while the Biden administration has called for the passage of more funding and reforms, including in a recent bipartisan Senate proposal, to fix what it says is a “broken” immigration system.

SOURCE

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