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‘Remain in Mexico’ policy in the spotlight at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Biden v. Texas starting Tuesday.
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 9:07 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Immigration is front and center at the Supreme Court this week. A case surrounding a Trump-era policy will be heard by the nine justices in Biden v. Texas. It boils down to a Biden administration decision to scrap a Trump-era rule that sent asylum-seeking immigrants back to Mexico to wait for their trials in the U.S.

On his first day in office, President Biden announced the reversal of the 2019 Trump rule, called the Migrant Protection Protocol or Remain in Mexico program. Immigration advocates argued the policy put asylum seekers in dangerous situations in Mexico.

But the states of Texas and Missouri sued, arguing reversing the policy is illegal. Lower courts agreed, keeping the measure in place as the Biden Justice Department appeals.

“You have the option to send them back to Mexico, you have the option to detain them, but you do not have the option to just release everybody,” said Julie Axelrod from the Center for Immigration Studies.

Axelrod submitted an amicus brief to the court supporting the states. She argues the security of the border is at stake. Axelrod thinks the Biden administration reversing the policy removes a deterrent that could prevent a rush of immigrants from seeking asylum in the U.S.

“What it’s done here is made basically a deliberate choice to sacrifice control over the border,” said Axelrod.

Karen Tumlin from the Justice Action Center argues it is well within the rights of the administration to abandon the policy.

“We know that tens of thousands of people were stranded, were harmed, were abused, were kidnapped while awaiting that day in court,” said Tumlin.

Tumlin said this case is a blockbuster with a lot at stake. She said the court will have to answer, ‘does a new president have the power to change a policy of a past president and the ability to execute mandates from voters?’

“The answer has to be ‘yes,’ right? The answer has to be, ‘of course.’ That’s how our democracy works. But that’s not what happened in the lower court rulings,” said Tumlin.

Oral arguments are expected to begin at 10 a.m. ET Tuesday. An opinion from the court is not expected to come until late spring or early summer.

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