The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday regarding the “Remain in Mexico” policy implemented during the Trump administration.
The policy is technically called “Migrant Protection Protocols,” but is known as “Remain in Mexico.” It started in the Trump era and required certain migrants seeking asylum to the United States to stay in Mexico while they waited for an immigration hearing.
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden put a temporary stop on the program, but Texas and Missouri sued. In June, the Department of Homeland Security tried to end the program altogether, but a judge ultimately put it back into place, ruling that DHS had to keep the policy.
There are two sides to this complex issue. Those opposing the policy say it can create a dangerous situation for the migrants waiting in Mexico, where conditions aren’t always healthy or safe. DHS also says the program puts strain on the United States’ relationship with Mexico.
U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told the court, “Justice Thomas, I think that the particular interpretation of the statute that the district court adopted here implicates grave and serious foreign policy implications. Of course, the executive branch has primary responsibility for managing foreign relations and conducting those kinds of negotiations.”
Supporters of the policy say it’s an effective deterrent for illegal immigrants coming to the border claiming asylum. They say the program has been a net benefit, since around 70,000 asylum-seekers have successfully passed through the program while those seeking to enter the country illegally have been detained.
The Supreme Court could decide that U.S. law “requires DHS to continue implementing” the program. This is essentially the argument the district judge gave, saying U.S. law requires the government to either detain or return the migrants.
In his opinion on the ruling, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk wrote, “Section 1225 provides the government two options vis-à-vis aliens seeking asylum: (1) mandatory detention; or (2) return to a contiguous territory. Failing to detain or return aliens pending their immigration proceedings violates Section 1225.”
The justices could also rule that the Biden administration has the ability to get rid of the policy.
The issue essentially comes down to the question of the authority of the executive branch.
The border is becoming a liability for midterm elections, especially for Democrats in border states. This ruling could have implications for those elections, and it could establish the role of the courts in future policies like this, as well.
Border crossings continue to be a topic of concern for many Americans as policies over the border take center stage in the political debate.
Earlier this week, a federal judge blocked the Biden administration from ending a Trump-era public health initiative that impacted immigration and is scheduled to end in late May, per The Daily Wire.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Monday afternoon: “In a lawsuit originally filed by Missouri, Louisiana, and Arizona, our Office just obtained a temporary restraining order to keep Title 42 in place. This is a huge victory for border security, but the fight continues on.”