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Supreme Court: Biden Administration Can Terminate “Remain in Mexico” Program

— July 3, 2022

The court will allow the Department of Homeland Security to officially terminate former President Donald Trump’s controversial “remain in Mexico” policy for asylum-seekers.

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that the Biden administration has the right to end former President Donald Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy, which required that asylum-seekers stay south of the border while their cases are adjudicate in immigration court.

According to The Texas Tribune, the attorneys general of Texas and Missouri had earlier filed a lawsuit against the White House, alleging that the Biden administration had violated federal law by rescinding the policy.

However, the justices’ 5-4 found that the government did not err in ending the Migrant Protection Protocols, popularly known as “remain in Mexico.”

The ruling was supported by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who sided with the court’s three liberal justices in the majority.

Writing for the majority, Roberts said that a lower court has overstepped its authority by deciding that the Migrant Protection Protocols must necessarily remain in place.

Under the “court of appeals’ interpretation,” Roberts wrote, a judge could “force the executive to the bargaining table with Mexico, over a policy that both countries wish to terminate, and to supervise its continuing negotiations with Mexico to ensure that that they are conducted ‘in good faith.’”

Justice Samuel Alito issued a “sharply worded dissent,” opining that the Department of Homeland Security is effectively neglecting a congressional command to return “inadmissible aliens” to Mexico.

An ICE officer in Florida. Image via U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Flickr. Public domain.

“Due to the huge numbers of aliens who attempt to enter illegally from Mexico, DHS does not have the capacity to detain all inadmissible aliens encountered at the border, and no one suggests that DHS must do the impossible. But rather than avail itself of Congress’s clear statutory alternative to return inadmissible aliens to Mexico while they await proceedings in this country, DHS has concluded that it may forgo that option altogether and instead simply release into this country untold numbers of aliens who are very likely to be removed if they show up for their removal hearings. This practice violates the clear terms of the law, but the Court looks the other way,” Alito wrote.

In a separate dissent, Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote that the court needed more information before reaching a verdict.

Shortly after the ruling, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it welcomes the court’s decision that it “has the discretionary authority to terminate the program, and we will continue our efforts to terminate the program as soon as legally permissible.”

The agency also said that it will continue detaining and deporting immigrants who enter the country illegally.

D.H.S. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also cast his support behind the court, saying that, “after a thorough review, the prior administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed the lawsuit to block “remain in Mexico” from being canceled, called the ruling “an unfortunate one.”

“Today’s decision makes the border crisis worse,” Paxton said in a statement.


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