Federal judge allows Biden administration to end remain-in-Mexico border policy again
A federal judge in Texas on Monday gave the Biden administration the green light to repeal Trump-era border rules that require migrants to wait for their hearings before the U.S. Asylum Court in Mexico, marking an end to a year-long legal protection, at least for now means. back and forth over President Biden’s efforts to end the policy.
In a unilateral order, US District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk overturned a ruling he entered last year that required the Biden administration to reinstate Migrant Protection Protocols, a policy colloquially known as “remain-in -Mexico” and has been suspended for President Biden’s first day in office in January 2021.
Earlier in the day, Justice Department attorneys representing the Biden administration had asked Kacsmaryk to amend his August 2021 verdict, citing the Supreme Court decision in June to dismiss legal arguments by Republican officials in Texas and Missouri that Kacsmaryk upheld in his order last year.
While the Supreme Court issued its ruling on June 30, it did not become legally binding until August 1, and the Biden administration had to clear several legal hurdles before asking Kacsmaryk to overturn his order, including a 5th Circuit Court decision ruling last year against the government.
Department of Homeland Security officials did not respond to questions about whether it had begun taking steps to end the Remain in Mexico protocols in light of Monday’s order and whether it would reinstate a process to allow participants in the program to proceed their cases in the United States
In his second memo ending the protocols, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said his department would end Remain-in-Mexico “as soon as possible” after Kacsmaryk’s sentence was overturned.
While Monday’s order is a legal victory for asylum-seeker advocates, who have called the stay-in-Mexico policy inhumane and draconian, it will have limited implications for current US border policy because the Biden administration owns a very small percentage had registered by migrants in the program.
Since the migrant protection protocols were reinstated in December 2021, According to government data, 5,764 migrants were returned to Mexico under the directive. During the same period, U.S. border officials have reported record levels of illegal migration and processed migrants over 1.4 million times, DHS statistics show.
The Trump administration began the MPP policy in early 2019 and used it to bring 70,000 migrants back to Mexico, many of whom lived in run-down camps near the US border. Human rights activists recorded hundreds of reported attacks on migrants who were forced to wait in Mexico, including in areas US officials warn against Americans visiting over violent crimes and kidnappings.
The Trump administration said MPP discouraged migrants seeking better economic opportunities from using the asylum system to stay and work in the United States. However, Mr. Biden denounced the politics of the 2020 campaign as inhumane, and on his first day in office, DHS stopped housing migrants in the program.
In June 2021, Mayorkas officially ended the MPP policy, saying it was ineffective and putting asylum seekers at risk. But Republican attorneys general in Texas and Missouri filed suits, and Kacsmaryk ruled that the government had improperly ended the protocols.
Kacsmaryk, an appointee for former President Trump, called on the Biden administration to implement the remain-in-Mexico protocols “in good faith” until it properly terminates them and the government establishes enough detention facilities to hold all migrants who fall under the detention law from 1996 are subject.
In response, Mayorkas exhibited a fuller memo in October to try to end MPP policy a second time. But Kacsmaryk’s decision was later approved from the 5th Circuit, who refused to consider Mayorkas’ second termination notice.
However, legal setbacks forced the Biden administration to revive Remain in Mexico in December revised the programrequiring officials to ask migrants if they fear persecution in Mexico before sending them there, offering coronavirus vaccines to enrolled people and exempting certain groups from the policy, including asylum seekers with serious medical conditions, the elderly and members of the LGBT community .
Kacsmaryk’s ruling, which has since lapsed, also prompted the Biden administration to halt a program that allowed 13,000 asylum seekers previously enrolled with Remain-in-Mexico to enter the United States so they could continue their trials in the country.