WASHINGTON – The US government said on Friday it would provide more than $ 20 million to nearly 700,000 asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants in Central America and Mexico.
The additional funding, provided by the State Department’s Office of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), “will help meet urgent humanitarian needs” and bring total humanitarian assistance to Central America and Mexico. to more than $ 331 million for fiscal 2021, according to State Department spokesman Ned Price.
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According to Price, the additional money will support increased access to international protection, access to mental health support, legal assistance, shelter and health care, including prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
“With this new humanitarian assistance, the United States is advancing our mission of collaborative migration management in the region, including promoting access to protection and increasing the US response to urgent humanitarian needs in Central America and Mexico Price wrote. “This is part of the administration’s overall approach to supporting safe, orderly and humane migration while addressing the root causes of irregular migration in the region.”
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The move comes as the Biden administration announced its intention to reinstate the Trump-era immigration policy called “Stay in Mexico” next month. The program requires asylum seekers to stay in Mexico until they have a hearing in a US court, complying with a judge’s order.
Around 70,000 asylum seekers have been subjected to the “stay in Mexico” policy, officially known as the “Migrant Protection Protocols,” which President Donald Trump introduced in January 2019 and which Biden suspended on first day of his term. A federal judge sided with the states of Texas and Missouri in ordering the Biden administration in August to reinstate the policy “in good faith.”
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The court record indicates that it should be in effect around mid-November.
This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.