| 20 May 2024, Monday |

U.S. court rejects bid to end Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ border policy

On Monday, a U.S. appeals court denied the Biden administration’s latest attempt to terminate a program implemented by former President Donald Trump that forced tens of thousands of migrants to wait in Mexico for the conclusion of their U.S. asylum petitions.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat, reversed his Republican predecessor’s policy, dubbed “Remain in Mexico,” shortly after taking office in January of this year. However, after Texas and Missouri filed a lawsuit challenging the revocation, a federal court determined that it had to be reinstated.

Migrants claiming asylum under the 2019 policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), must wait weeks, if not years, in Mexico for a U.S. court date, rather than being permitted to await their hearings in the United States. On the campaign trail, Biden slammed the program, and immigration activists have said that migrants trapped in dangerous border communities have suffered kidnappings and other hazards.

In the hopes of overcoming the legal issues, the Biden administration reissued a letter suspending MPP. The latest letter, however, did not persuade the conservative-leaning 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a Monday night ruling, the court said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (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. No input from Congress, no ordinary rulemaking procedures, and no judicial review.”

“DHS has come nowhere close to shouldering its heavy burden to show that it can make law in a vacuum,” the judges wrote in a 117-page opinion.

The White House and the U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In compliance with the court’s order, the administration began sending the first asylum seekers back to Mexico again last week.

The number of migrants caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has soared to record highs this year, sparking criticism from Republicans.

Many migrants arrested at the border, however, are quickly expelled without being given a chance to even seek asylum under a different Trump policy put in place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which Biden has kept in place.

  • Reuters