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SCOTUS backs Biden efforts to end ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy

SCOTUS backs Biden efforts to end ‘Remain in Mexico policy


The Supreme Court on Tuesday is set to hear arguments from the Biden administration in their latest bid to end the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forces many asylum seekers to wait south of the US border for their hearings. 

The Biden administration is appealing several lower court rulings which have required the 2019 immigration program – formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols – to remain in place, after President Biden paused it immediately after taking office and the Department of Homeland Security officially ended in June 2021. 

Supporters of the policy – namely states Texas and Missouri which have sued to keep it in place – claim it helps reduce migrant flow into the US. Even DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said it likely led to fewer illegal border crossings in 2019, however he has noted that the policy has “substantial and unjustifiable human costs.” 

Juan, from Colombia, hangs his laundry to dry at a shelter for migrants.
AP
Supporters of the policy include states Texas and Missouri, which have sued to keep it in place.
Supporters of the policy include states Texas and Missouri, which have sued to keep it in place.
AP

When it was first active, approximately 70,000 people were sent back to Mexico as their cases remained pending. From December to mid-February, the administration shuttled 572 people south of the border. 

The latest lower court ruling came in December, with an appeals court writing that the DHS “claims the power to implement a massive policy reversal — affecting billions of dollars and countless people — simply by typing out a new Word document and posting it on the internet.  

The judges slammed the administration for having “no input from Congress, no ordinary rulemaking procedures, and no judicial review. “

Alvaro Galo, from Nicaragua, sorts through a list of lawyers as he tries to find one to help him apply for asylum in the Untied States.
Alvaro Galo, from Nicaragua, sorts through a list of lawyers as he tries to find one to help him apply for asylum in the Untied States.
AP
The Supreme Court is expected to release a decision on the case by this summer.
The Supreme Court is expected to release a decision on the case by this summer.
AP

“DHS has come nowhere close to shouldering its heavy burden to show that it can make law in a vacuum,” they added. 

The White House requested the Supreme Court hear the case just weeks later, saying previous decisions keeping the policy in place contained “erroneous interpretations” of federal law. 

In their filing, the administration claimed lower courts ordered the “Remain in Mexico” policy to remain in place despite determinations by the politically accountable Executive Branch that MPP is not the best tool for deterring unlawful migration; that MPP exposes migrants to unacceptable risks; and that MPP detracts from the Executive’s foreign-relations efforts to manage regional migration.” 

Men wait at a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico.
Men wait at a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico.
AP

At the time, the government requested the High Court to expedite the case and hear it during the current term, to avoid receiving a resolution in 2023. 

The Supreme Court is expected to release a decision on the case by this summer. 

It is unclear which way the conservative majority court will lean, however in August, the justices declined the administration’s previous request to block a lower court order keeping it in place. 

The critical Trump-era policy forces asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. immigration courts.
The critical Trump-era policy forces asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. immigration courts.
AP

The unsigned order explained that the Biden administration failed to show the decision to end the policy was not “arbitrary and capricious.”



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