The first episode highlights the Migrant Protection Protocol, which began under the Trump administration in February 2018 and continued through 2021. MPP forcibly returned 70,000 migrants to dangerous Mexican border cities and inhumane tent cities, where migrants lived in atrocious conditions awaiting the review of their asylum claims. Laura sets the scene on February 24, 2021, after a statement was released by the Department of Homeland Security to begin efforts “processing” or allowing entry into the US to residents of the Matamoros refugee encampment.
The Immigration and Nationality Act is the set of federal laws that govern immigration in the United States, which states “an official may return a non-citizen to foreign territory contiguous to the United States,” which, Laura shares, is Mexico. She clarifies that there’s no need for the Trump administration to have had any worries over immigrants from Canada. Instead, the phrase “may return a non-citizen” became a reason for the Trump administration to target and deport Spanish-speaking non-citizens.
Title 42 was a Trump-era policy enacted in March 2020 meant to expel migrants for health concerns (COVID-19 being the case) without considering asylum. The Trump administration used this policy to disguise their intentions, rapidly expelling more than 2 million people. Title 42 was meant to be lifted on December 21, 2022, but continues to remain in place under the Biden administration as of December 27, 2022.