President Biden officially ends Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy after court order
The Supreme Court ruled on June 30, that the Biden Administration could do away with the policy, and it did so on Monday, Aug. 8.
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The Department of Homeland Security announced on Monday, Aug. 8, that the Trump-era Remain in Mexico was suspended. The rule, Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), first introduced back in 2019, required migrants to wait out their asylum hearing cases in Mexico.
A major part of Trump’s initial campaign for president was to stop immigrants coming through the southern U.S. border, particularly Mexicans and Central Americans, when the number of migrants were exceeding 100,000 people a month.
Remain in Mexico was implemented to keep migrants in Mexico while they waited for their asylum hearings, which could take months or longer. It often put them in dangerous situations along the U.S.-Mexico border, where human trafficking, crime and poor living conditions ran rampant.
The announcement on Monday came hours after U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk lifted an order that had been in effect since last December that required the policy to be resumed after Biden initially suspended it on his first day in office back in January, 2021. Despite the positive step, many were growing weary with the response time of the administration to suspend it, as the Supreme Court first announced it could do away with the policy back on June 30.
Homeland Security officials had been mostly silent leading up to this announcement, as officials and the Biden Administration had to wait for the Trump-appointed Kacsmaryk back in Amarillo, Texas to lift his initial injunction, which finally happened. Last week, the Supreme Court officially certified the ruling.
"DHS is committed to ending the court-ordered implementation of MPP in a quick, and orderly, manner,” said the department in a statement after the suspension, reiterating to all asylum seekers to depend on information given by the U.S. government and not human smugglers or coyotes. This comes after the influx of migrants continues to rise under the Biden administration. Mass casualties have also occurred, as well as the spread of misinformation from human smugglers.
Also in the statement, the department said the policy “has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border.” Additionally, they added that those who were already enrolled in Trump’s program
would be processed under the new guidelines, allowing them to wait out their hearings in the U.S. before they would have to go to U.S. immigration courts.
While the Supreme Court had allowed the administration to do away with the policy back in late June, the decision would not be legally binded until Aug. 1, hence the wait time in between the decision and action. Biden and the Justice Department lawyers representing him had to go through many legal obstacles before they could ask Judge Kacsmaryk to uplift his injunction, including a decision from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled against the Biden administration last year.
The suspension of the policy is a victory for asylum seekers and the Biden administration after a recent string of small wins amid a woeful Summer filled with political turmoil. The downside for many, however, is that the suspension of the policy will have minimal impact on the current U.S. border policy because the Biden administration has been enrolling a small number of asylum seekers into the program.
According to government data, since the reinstatement of the policy from Judge Kacsmaryk back in December 2021, 5,764 migrants had been returned to Mexico. During that stretch of time, DHS statistics revealed that border officials reported record numbers of unlawful migration. Migrants were processed over 1.4 million times according to the DHS.
When first instated, the policy saw more than 70,000 asylum seekers be returned to Mexico. From this past December to June of 2022, under the reinstatement period, more than 5,800 people were subjected to the Trump policy, with Nicaraguans accounting for the largest amount, and Cubans, Colombians, and Velenzuelans being the others affected.
Questions still remain whether those who were denied and dismissed under the MPP law would be given second chances under the current one, as well as if those who have court dates set months away from now will be allowed to now enter the country and wait it out here.
Homeland Security has announced that new information will be released “in the coming days.”