News and Analysis

Biden Reinstating Trump-Era Remain In Mexico Immigration Policy After Court Forces Admin To Do So
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the economy in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. The U.S. will release 50 million barrels of crude from its strategic reserves in concert with China, Japan, India, South Korea and the U.K., an unprecedented, coordinated attempt by the world's largest oil consumers to tame prices that risks a backlash by OPEC+.
Oliver Contreras / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Democrat President Joe Biden will reimplement former President Donald Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), more commonly referred to as the Remain in Mexico policy, as soon as next week after he was ordered by a court to do so.

The move will undo one of Biden’s key immigration promises and now alleged asylum-seekers will be forced to wait in Mexico while their claims are evaluated.

“Proponents described the policy as incredibly effective, by weeding out bogus or insufficient asylum claims without letting people into the country, and one that helped end the process of ‘catch and release,'” Fox News reported. “Amid the ongoing border crisis, which has seen hundreds of thousands of migrants hit the border in recent months, with tens of thousands being released into the U.S., Republicans and border officials have urged the Biden administration to re-implement the policy.”

The administration will now offer those migrants the option to receive the coronavirus vaccine, which could potentially act as a magnet by incentivizing migrants from disadvantaged countries. It is not clear when the migrants would get their shots.

Axios reported:

The effectiveness of the policy will continually depend on Mexico’s willingness to accept the migrants turned back. Two sources familiar with internal discussions also highlighted concerns about migrants who would be forced to travel through Mexico in the middle of the night, so they can be on time for early morning court hearings. The administration is trying to address this safety concern ahead of MPP courts reopening later on.

“In compliance with the court order, we are working to reimplement MPP as promptly as possible,” DHS spokesperson Marsha Espinosa claimed. “We cannot do so until we have the independent agreement from the Government of Mexico to accept those we seek to enroll in MPP. We will communicate to the court, and to the public, the timing of reimplementation when we are prepared to do so.”

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled back in August that the Biden administration had not given ample reason for terminating the policy. The administration later appealed the decision at the Supreme Court and were again denied in their attempts to undue it.

Six of the nine justices on the Supreme Court sided with Kacsmaryk, writing:

The application for a stay presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied. The applicants have failed to show a likelihood of success on the claim that the memorandum rescinding the Migrant Protection Protocols was not arbitrary and capricious. … Our order denying the Government’s request for a stay of the District Court injunction should not be read as affecting the construction of that injunction by the Court of Appeals.

The New York Times reported in early September that some Biden officials were privately “relieved” that the policy would go back into place after the administration had faced months of catastrophic illegal border crossings.

“In fact, some Biden officials were already talking about reviving Mr. Trump’s policy in a limited way to deter migration, said the officials, who have worked on immigration policy but were not authorized to speak publicly about the administration’s internal debates on the issue,” the report said. “Then the Supreme Court order came, providing the Biden administration with the political cover to adopt the policy in some form without provoking as much ire from Democrats who reviled Mr. Trump’s border policies.”

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