Judge strikes down Biden administration’s “remain in Mexico” border policy

washington – A federal judge in Texas on Thursday suspended the Biden administration’s rollout of a Trump-era program that required some migrants to await their asylum hearings in Mexico, though the ruling’s substantive impact on US border policy was not immediately clear.

US District Judge Matthew Kaczmarik set October 2021 on hold memo Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas ended the so-called “remain in Mexico” policy that was first implemented by the Trump administration in early 2019 to stop migration at the US southern border.

In a similar decision last year, Kacsmaryk ordered The Biden administration will reinstate the Stay in Mexico program, prompting border officials to revive the policy on a limited scale for eight months before the Supreme Court cleared the way For the Department of Homeland Security to end the rule this summer.

In his 35-page ruling Thursday, Kaczmarek, appointed by former President Donald Trump, argued that Republican officials in Texas and Missouri were likely to succeed in their arguments that Mayorkas’ memo was “arbitrary and arbitrary,” and federal was the opposite. Administrative law, as he did not properly consider some issues.

Among those issues, Kacsmaryk said, were “key benefits” of the border policy, which the Trump administration called the “Migrant Protection Protocol” or MPP. One of those benefits, Kacsmaryk argued, was the protocol’s role in preventing migrants with weak asylum claims from crossing the US border illegally.

Yuma Arizona Border Crossing
A US Border Patrol agent monitors immigrants as they enter a Border Patrol vehicle to be taken for processing after they cross the border from Mexico on August 6, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona.

Qian Weizhong/VCG/Getty Images

Kacsmaryk said the Biden administration also failed to adequately consider how repealing the policy would impose a financial burden on Texas and Missouri, who have argued that their states’ use of social services would be cut due to the program’s termination. There has been an increase in the number of expatriates.

While Kaksmarić suspended Mayorkas’ memo and “the related decision to end the MPP,” the immediate, practical implications of the order were unclear Thursday, as would any US effort to return migrants to Mexico under formal policy. would have to be given the green signal by the Mexicans. government.

Furthermore, in its ruling in June, the Supreme Court said that federal law did not require the government to return migrants to Mexico, adding that it was an optional legal right that authorities could enforce. The High Court also concluded that requiring the government to enact a policy dependent on Mexico’s approval interfered with the President’s broad powers to conduct foreign affairs.

Nevertheless, Kacsmaryk’s decision has sparked a new legal crisis in a years-long court battle over the controversial program, which has been hailed by Republican lawmakers as an effective tool to stem illegal immigration, and by Democrats as a harsher Condemned as policy that tramples on asylum rights -seeker.

A Biden administration official said that Mayorkas was “within his authority” to end the MPP policy.

“We disagree with the decision and are deciding the next steps,” the official said.

As part of a broader border crackdown, the Trump administration used the MPP policy to return 70,000 migrants to Mexico, many of whom ended up in illegal stops. Human rights activists reported hundreds of attacks against migrants forced to wait in Mexico, with violent crime and mass kidnappings prompting the US State Department to warn Americans not to travel.

The Trump administration said the MPP prevented immigrants seeking better economic opportunities from using the asylum system to stay and work in the US indefinitely. But President Biden called the policy inhumane and his administration suspended it on his first day in office in January 2021.

In June 2021, Mayorkas formally ended the MPP protocol, saying the program was ineffective and that some migrants had abandoned their asylum claims due to a “lack of stable access to housing, income and security” in Mexico. But two months later, Kacsmaryk discovered that Mayorkas’ termination memo was legally flawed.

Kacsmaryk required the Biden administration to “in good faith” implement protocols to remain in Mexico until it properly externs them, and until the government detains all immigrants subject to the 1996 detention law. Does not set up adequate holding facilities to take, which no administration has been able to do. achieve.

In response, Mayorkas issued a more comprehensive memorandum in October 2021 to attempt to end the MPP policy a second time. But Kacsmaryk’s rule was later upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which refused to consider Mayorkas’ second termination memo.

Legal setbacks forced the Biden administration to resurrect the stay in Mexico in December 2021, though it repair or reinstall program, required officials to ask migrants whether they feared persecution in Mexico before sending them there, offered coronavirus vaccines to enrollees, and exempted some groups from the policy, including those with serious medical conditions. Asylum seekers, veterans and members of the LGBT community were included.

Between December 2021 and this August, border officials enrolled about 12,000 migrants in the MPP program, a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands of migrants who entered US border custody during that time, according to government data.

After the Supreme Court’s June ruling took effect, the Biden administration terminated the MPP protocol on August 8 and pledged to process and accept migrants returning to Mexico under the program.

Thursday’s decision comes as the Biden administration faces another legal battle At the end of a different Trump-era border policy: A pandemic-related measure known as Title 42 that has allowed US immigration officials to turn back migrants without giving them a chance to seek asylum. This is effective from the beginning of 2020.

The Biden administration has used Title 42 on a much larger scale than the remain-in-Mexico policy, expelling hundreds of thousands of migrants to Mexico or their home country under pandemic restrictions amid record levels of migration at the southern border.

Title 42 was supposed to expire on December 21 after a court ruling found the measure to be illegal, but Republican-led states asked an appeals court to delay the expiration, arguing that it was illegal in scope and intersections will also lead to more growth.

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