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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Migrant Protection Protocols program to allow asylum seekers to wait in U.S.

It's part of a larger immigration plan laid out by the Biden administration for asylum seekers, but only applies to those with pending cases.

There are big changes in store for migrants making the journey north to the United States. Starting Friday, those seeking asylum in the U.S. will be able to wait in the country once again.

It's part of a larger immigration plan laid out by the Biden administration for tens of thousands of people who are seeking asylum. Most have been forced to wait in Mexico under a Trump-era policy while their cases wind through immigration courts.

RELATED: Democrats consider piecemeal approach to immigration reform

The first wave of an estimated 25,000 asylum-seekers with active cases in the "Remain in Mexico" program will be allowed into the United States on Feb 19, but it only applies to those who have cases pending. Everyone else has been told to wait until further notice.

At the U.S.-Mexico border, many of those seeking asylum marched with signs displaying the number of months or even years they've been waiting to make their case in court.  

Martitza Castro thought she was going to cross in 2018. She said it's been very hard and she's cried a lot.

Castro migrated from Honduras two years ago, but because of the former administration's immigration policies has had to wait in Mexico.

Castro's court date comes just one day before a new policy for asylum seekers is set to go into effect, laid out by the Biden administration.

The Migrant Protection Protocols program or MPP will now allow those who have pending cases in the United States to stay in the country.

Pedro Rios with the American Friends Service Committee called it a good start to reforming a broken system.

"As it's being rolled out, my hope is more information is being provided to the migrants who are seeking asylum, and that the organizations on the ground are receiving the support they need to support the migrants seeking asylum," Rios said.

Some have expressed concerns over the new policies being too vague.

There's been a lot of confusion about how some people need to register," said Rios. "There's been a lot of confusion about who will be prioritized."

A memo from the National Security Advisors to the President made it clear that this does not mean our borders are open, but rather represents the first phase to creating an orderly asylum process.

The Biden administration released its plan in an official press release.