Migrant Protection Protocols and the Death of Asylum
Journal of Latin American Geography
15 Pages Posted: 28 May 2021
Date Written: March 15, 2021
From January 2019 to January 2021, a Trump-era policy known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) forced asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border to wait for their hearings in dangerous parts of northern Mexico. MPP had disastrous consequences: very few migrants in MPP had a meaningful chance to request asylum compared to other asylum seekers, and the forced migrants waiting in Mexico faced pervasive violence. President Biden suspended new enrollments in the program on his first day in office and, by late February 2021, migrants who were living in the refugee camp that emerged as a result of MPP in Matamoros, Mexico, began to enter the United States to pursue their asylum claims. As the MPP program—also known as Remain in Mexico—appears to come to a close, this essay examines key aspects of the program through the perspective of ontological, political, and physical death that Alison Mountz theorizes in her recent book The Death of Asylum. Drawing on Mountz’s work, I view MPP as symptomatic of a concerted though spatially uneven assault across the developed world on both the institutions and operations of asylum as a practice as well as on asylum seekers themselves.
Keywords: asylum, U.S.-Mexico border, migrant protection protocols, death of asylum
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