A crucial point in the asylum application process at which a migrant presents written testimony and supporting evidence to substantiate his or her initial “credible fear” claim. An immigration judge reviews the sworn testimony and evidence, and may seek to further question the applicant in the courtroom. A Merits Hearing is generally the last step in the asylum process. A decision on whether or not to grant asylum is generally rendered once the Merits Hearing is complete.
Migration Protection Protocols (MPP)
Also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, MPP was established by the Trump administration in 2018. It mandated that asylum seekers stay in Mexico to await their U.S. asylum hearings to alleviate the surge of migrant families crossing into the U.S. at the southern border. On February 28, 2020, a federal appeals court determined that MPP is inconsistent with federal law and “should be enjoined in its entirety.” The Trump administration appealed the injunction to the Supreme Court, which ruled on March 11, 2020, that MPP could be implemented while challenges to the policy play out in the lower courts. Immediately after entering office, Biden cancelled the program.