U.S. ends program sending asylum seekers to Mexico to wait for court hearings

Migrant girls, asylum seekers sent back to Mexico from the U.S. under the "Remain in Mexico" program officially named Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), are seen playing at a provisional campsite near the Rio Bravo in Matamoros, Mexico February 27, 2020. Picture taken February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in the first day under President Joe Biden, suspended all new enrollments in a program that has pushed tens of thousands of migrants to wait in Mexico for asylum hearings in U.S. courts.

The program, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, was put in place by President Donald Trump and has left people stuck for months in limbo near the U.S. border.

It will end on Jan. 21 but current COVID-19 non-essential travel restrictions will remain in place, a statement from the agency said. “All current MPP participants should remain where they are, pending further official information from U.S. government officials,” it said.

Reporting by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Chris Reese