The Supreme Court enables Biden to end “Remain in Mexico”

(CNN) — The Supreme Court of the United States gave President Joe Biden the green light on Thursday to end the controversial immigration policy known as “Remain in Mexico” or “Remain in Mexico”, originated under the Trump administration.

The case now returns to the lower court for additional proceedings surrounding Biden’s latest attempt to end the program. A hold on Biden’s attempt to end the program remains in place, but Thursday’s ruling suggested that order should be lifted shortly.

Mexico will benefit from the Supreme Court’s decision on “Remain in Mexico” 3:54

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the immigration law gives the federal government the discretion to end the program, which sends certain non-Mexican citizens who entered the US back to Mexico—instead of detaining or detaining them. release them into the United States—while their immigration proceedings developed.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that “Congress conferred the authority of return to contiguous territory on expressly discretionary terms.”

Roberts was joined by liberal justices and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who also filed a concurring opinion. Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett wrote dissenting opinions that were joined by the other dissenters.

With its ruling, the court said lower courts must now consider whether the government complied with administrative law with the Biden administration’s most recent attempt — with a memo filed in October — to end Trump-era politics. .

Since the beginning of his administration, Biden has sought to end this policy, which returns certain non-Mexican citizens who entered the US to Mexico—instead of detaining or releasing them in the United States—while their immigration proceedings unfold. .

Biden’s proposal to end the program had been challenged in court by a coalition of red states led by Texas, which argued that ending the program was contrary to immigration law. They also argued that the administration violated the Administrative Procedure Law — which requires agencies to take certain procedural steps when implementing the policy — in the way it scrapped the program, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols.

Immigration attorney explains the ‘root’ of Title 42 3:15

The program, which was first implemented in 2019 under then-President Donald Trump, has come under fire from immigrant rights advocates, who argue it is inhumane and exposes asylum seekers with credible claims to dangerous conditions. and squalid in Mexico.

Before the Trump administration launched the “Remain in Mexico” program, no other administration had taken such an approach to non-Mexican asylum seekers that required them to remain in Mexico during the course of their immigration court proceedings. immigration in the United States. Biden campaigned to end that policy, saying it “goes against everything we stand for as a nation of immigrants.”

Biden has faced a growing number of border crossings over the course of his administration amid mass migration in the Western Hemisphere. Since October, border authorities have encountered migrants more than a million times along the US-Mexico border, though many have been turned away under a separate pandemic emergency rule. The Department of Homeland Security, however, has maintained that the “Remain in Mexico” policy has a high human cost and is not an efficient use of resources.

According to the Biden Justice Department, the relevant immigration law had never before been interpreted to require the government to send back to Mexico migrants with pending immigration proceedings that it could not keep in detention.

“All presidential administrations have understood that this is a purely discretionary authority. That goes for the previous administration,” Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar said in oral arguments in April.
He also argued that keeping “Remain in Mexico” in place would not solve the essential problem: that Congress has instructed that immigration officials “shall” detain asylum seekers whose proceedings are pending, but that lawmakers have not allocated resources. enough for those detention centers.

“The return of contiguous territory cannot be the solution here,” Prelogar said, noting that when the Trump administration was carrying out the policy, only 6.5% of migrants found at the border were registered in the Program.

“It has inherent limitations,” Prelogar said, noting the adherence the program requires from Mexico, a sovereign nation.

Biden first tried to suspend the program the day he took office in 2021, prompting the lawsuit from red states. In June, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a memorandum formally ending the policy, but a federal judge in Texas blocked that move in August.

Days later, the Supreme Court refused to put that ruling on hold while the appeal was resolved, forcing Biden to reactivate “Remain in Mexico.”

In October, Mayorkas issued a new memorandum ordering the program to cease, seeking to remedy the procedural flaws exposed in the August district court ruling. One of the points of contention in the lower court proceedings was whether that October memorandum made previous sentences moot, and the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found that it did not.

They work on the identification of migrants in Mexico 4:55

Politics resumed last December. Since then, more than 5,000 immigrants have been returned to Mexico under the program, according to the International Organization for Migration. Nicaragua, Cuba, Colombia and Venezuela are among the nationalities enrolled in the program.

The most important issue in the case was the level of discretion left to the executive branch by the immigration statutes in question, which were modified several times over the last century. One of the provisions of the law says that asylum seekers whose claims are still being examined “shall” be detained while those procedures are carried out.

Another provision, adopted in 1996, says the federal government “may return” immigrants still awaiting their proceedings to the contiguous territory through which they entered. Another provision says that, on a “case-by-case” basis, immigration officials can parole immigrants whose proceedings are pending.

The beginning of “Remain in Mexico”

The “Remain in Mexico” or “Remain in Mexico” program was officially announced on Thursday, December 20, 2018.

That day, Kirstjen Nielsen, who at the time was secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced that the United States had communicated to Mexico that people who entered the country illegally or who entered without the proper documentation and requesting asylum would be sent to Mexico to await the resolution of their immigration procedures in the US.

Asylum seekers from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador had to wait outside the United States until their immigration procedures were completed, according to DHS.

That policy forced migrants to remain in Mexico until the date of their hearing in US immigration court.

According to DHS, the migrants would first be returned to Mexico, then notified to appear in court and then allowed to enter the country to attend the hearing.

A DHS official said at the time that Mexico would continue to provide humanitarian aid to people waiting for their legal proceedings near the border.

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