U.S. border officials will stop enforcing a Trump-era immigration policy that requires non-Mexican asylum-seekers arriving at the southern border to wait in Mexico for processing, following a federal court order.
U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk on Monday lifted an injunction he ordered last year which had prevented the Biden administration from ending the protocol.
It comes after a divided Supreme Court on June 30 ruled that the Biden administration has the authority to end Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which is commonly known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
In a 5–4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled against Texas and Missouri, which had argued that the Biden administration violated the federal immigration law by rescinding MPP on President Joe Biden first day in office.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said at the time that the case was “wrongly decided” and will only “make the border crisis worse.” He noted that there is no guarantee illegal immigrants released into the United States to await their court dates would show up to them.
The “Remain in Mexico” program was designed to crack down on the practice known as catch-and-release, in which individuals would make fraudulent asylum claims knowing they would be released into the United States and be able to stay for years before their court appearance.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Monday that several thousand asylum-seekers waiting in Mexico will gradually be allowed to enter the United States to pursue their asylum claims in the coming weeks and months.
“We welcome the U.S. District Court’s decision, which follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 30th decision, to lift the injunction that required DHS to reimplement the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) in good faith. DHS is committed to ending the court-ordered implementation of MPP in a quick, and orderly, manner,” DHS said in a statement.
Border Officials Stop Enrolling People Into Program
U.S. border officials will no longer enroll new people into MPP and those already in the program in Mexico will be delisted when they return for their next scheduled court date, according to DHS. Individuals delisted from MPP will continue their removal proceedings in the United States.
DHS said the “Remain in Mexico” program had “endemic flaws” and imposed “unjustifiable human costs” while pulling resources away from other border security priorities.
MPP was instituted in 2019 during the former administration of President Donald Trump, a Republican. The initiative kept 65,000 non-Mexican asylum seekers out of the United States while they awaited processing.
The DHS issued a memo on Jan. 20, 2021 to undo the “Remain in Mexico” program. But this move was blocked by Kacsmaryk in August 2021.
The Biden administration will continue to enforce another Trump-era immigration and public health rule related to COVID-19 known as Title 42, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public health order. Biden’s attempt to remove this rule was blocked by court order.
Under Title 42, individuals encountered at the southwest border who cannot establish a legal basis to claim asylum in the United States will be removed or expelled.