Supreme Court rebuffs Biden over 'Remain in Mexico' policy


The Supreme Court on Tuesday rebuffed the Biden administration's effort to halt the reinstatement of a controversial Trump-era immigration measure known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

In a brief order that broke along familiar ideological lines, the conservative-majority court declined to intervene after a lower court revived the policy, which requires asylum-seekers at the southern border to stay in Mexico while their applications are processed.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the administration had failed to show it was likely to ultimately prevail in defending the lawfulness of its decision to rescind the Trump measure, officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols.

Alito, who handles emergency requests from Texas, referred the matter to the court. None of his fellow conservative justices commented on the matter, though the court’s three liberals indicated they would have granted the administration’s request.

The court’s move comes after a federal judge in Texas ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the program in response to a lawsuit by the attorneys general of Texas and Missouri. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit let stand that ruling, prompting the Biden administration’s emergency request to the justices.

Former President Trump’s policy, implemented in 2019, blocked migrants at the Mexican border from entering the U.S. to apply for asylum, leaving what the Biden administration estimates is now around 25,000 people awaiting their fate in Mexico.

More than 60,000 asylum-seekers were returned to Mexico under the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a departure from previous practice of allowing those fleeing violence to cross the border and apply for asylum within the U.S.

The Biden administration sought to formally end the Trump-era policy in June, which was spelled out in a memorandum by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

But earlier this month, Texas-based U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, ruled that the Biden administration had failed to provide a legally adequate rationale for its rescission, and ordered that the policy would have to remain in place until the administration undergoes a lengthy administrative procedure to overturn it.

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