What They’re Saying About the End of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justices on Thursday approved the Biden administration’s attempts to rescind the Migrant Protection Protocol, or the “Remain in Mexico” border policy, dealing a blow to Republican-led states’ attempts to prolong the enforcement of Trump-era immigration policy.
The justices’ decision in Biden v. Texas led to celebrations by immigrant rights advocates and condemnations from proponents of stricter border security measures. The ruling comes after a lengthy court battle, but it now opens the door for the Biden administration to establish a legal framework to repeal the policy and other immigration holdovers from the Trump administration, such as Title 42.
Commentary on the Supreme Court’s ruling abounded, and leading voices on both sides of the issue shared their thoughts with the public and directly with The Well News to characterize the decision from their points of view.
Fernando Garcia, executive director of Border Network for Human Rights
“I think this was long expected and long overdue. We believe that [the Migrant Protection Protocol] as well as Title 42 should have been repealed a year and a half ago. So, it comes late for many families, but at least we have now a decision that actually will reaffirm the executive power of the president to repeal that program, because I think that was a discussion in the Supreme Court. I think now we’re urging the president to do this as soon as possible … because I think families cannot wait any longer.
“I mean, as you’ve seen, families are desperate. And in many of them, they could have dropped even the asylum cases to come across in very dangerous ways, as we now experience more people dying at the border. So, I think this is a good step towards unwinding a very damning program of the previous administration.”
Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform
“May was a record-setting month for the Biden administration. Record-high gas prices, 40-year-high inflation numbers, and a record number of illegal aliens encountered at our borders — surpassing the old record set all the way back … in April.
“But even the raw number of 239,416 border encounters does not tell the full story. In May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended an unprecedented number of criminals, gang members, and lethal drugs pouring across the border that will almost certainly lead to a new record in opioid-related deaths. Safe to say, none of these are the sort of records the American public [was] looking for when they elected Joe Biden.
“In fact, the best thing that can be said about the crisis the president has created at the border is that it could have been a whole lot worse if not for the fact a federal judge blocked President Biden’s plan to end Title 42 last month. And yet, in spite of the mounting disaster, President Biden steadfastly refuses to change any of the policies that truly are the root causes of this crisis.”
Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us
“We’re profoundly relieved that the Supreme Court has affirmed President Biden’s authority to end the devastating ‘Remain in Mexico’ program, and we urge the administration to move as swiftly as possible to end this program permanently. This was a clear rebuke of the lower court’s outrageous and reactionary overstep. Today’s ruling is a long-overdue victory for compassion, safety and the rule of law — and for tens of thousands of vulnerable individuals attempting to seek safety from terrible violence and persecution.
“Moreover, the court rejected the radical claim by the lower court that all noncitizens either be expelled and forced to remain outside the U.S. or incarcerated for the entirety of their asylum processing. This is a welcome judgment, but should never even [have] been a question: No administration — not even the Trump administration — has ever interpreted the law that way.”
The Center for Immigration Studies
“The court finds that the Biden administration may end the program [formerly known as the Migrant Protection Protocol, or MPP] and the lower court’s injunction against it is invalid. The case now goes back to the circuit court to decide whether the program was terminated properly.
“More important: The lower court also has to decide whether the federal law’s detention mandate for illegal border crossers is really a mandate and whether [the Department of Homeland Security] is violating the law by releasing most illegal aliens instead of detaining them.
“In other words, the plaintiffs’ argument is that the law requires either detention or ‘Remain in Mexico’ for [migrants], with the limited exception of parole in extraordinary cases. The Biden administration has made that exception for almost all illegal border crossers [who aren’t expelled under Title 42, which it is also trying to end], and that is the central issue, still to be decided.”
Karen Tumlin, founder and director of Justice Action Center
“The Supreme Court decision today, I want to be clear, is a massive rebuke on the lower court decisions. First, the Supreme Court rejected the outrageous lower court interpretation of federal immigration law to require mandatory detention of asylum seekers. Second, the Supreme Court made clear that Biden has the power to end the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program and sent the case back down to the lower courts to consider the second memo terminating that program.
“Now, advocates [of] asylum seekers [and] border community leaders have fought for years to see this moment. Millions of voters turned out in part to support Biden’s inclusive agenda and to turn away from the Trump administration’s legacy of xenophobia. But let’s be clear about what led to this moment. Extremist attorney generals [sic] and anti-immigrant states like my home state of Texas sought to legislate through the courts by filing lawsuits to thwart the Biden administration.
“We’ve seen this not just in remain in Mexico, but on every aspect of Biden’s immigration actions, whether it’s [the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program] or immigration enforcement priorities, and the Supreme Court’s order should put a powerful check on these extremist actions that waste time and money, and they thwart the will of the people. But the truth is that anti-immigrant politicians are undoubtedly going to continue to try to score political points with their extremist agenda. And I hope today’s Supreme Court opinion reminds the Biden administration as it enters its next phase of the administration that it has to be built.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
“The Supreme Court’s decision upholding DHS’s termination of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy will only embolden the Biden administration’s open border policies. More than 50 people recently died in a trailer — people who were allowed to cross our border illegally because of President Biden’s policies. Reinstating and fully enforcing ‘Remain in Mexico’ would deter thousands more migrants from making that deadly trek, and President Biden should take that simple step to secure the border because it is the only humane thing to do.”
Ahilan Arulanantham, professor and faculty co-director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law
“The fight in this case, I suspect, is not over, and it is likely, I would imagine, that Texas and the other state parties may continue to argue that there is some defect in the [Biden] administration’s attempt to terminate MPP. Before moving on, I do think it’s worth pausing to remember that in President Biden’s first year alone, Republican-led states won nationwide injunctions against almost every significant aspect of the administration’s immigration policy. …
“But think about the things that were stopped today. The moratorium on deportations — which happened right at the beginning of the administration — multiple injunctions against the administration’s enforcement priorities, its attempt to decide who they want to focus on, [and] who they [don’t want to focus] on — obviously, this case, the MPP and the administration’s attempt to end the Title 42 expulsion order.
“In each case, a judge appointed by the Trump administration ruled on a nationwide basis that the president’s immigration policy had to stop. And today, finally a year and a half into the Biden administration, the Supreme Court made clear that all of those injunctions were illegal under the ruling that happened today, and it thus appears to have finally taken steps to rein in the Republican-led states’ ability to use nationwide engine options to dictate federal immigration policy. We’re certainly pleased with that outcome here. And we will continue to urge courts to confront the overuse of those injunctions in cases brought by Republican-led states.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas
“Disappointed in SCOTUS ruling allowing Biden to eliminate ‘Remain in Mexico.’ I pray he makes the right decision and keeps the policy, given our unprecedented border crisis. South Texas is seeing the impact of an open border already. Removing this would be disastrous.”
Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas
“This week, 53 people died horrible deaths in San Antonio, [Texas], in a case that demonstrates the cruelty of Trump-era immigration policies. I’m glad that the Supreme Court has now opened the door for the Biden administration to rescind ‘Remain in Mexico’ and allow vulnerable people to seek asylum from the safety of the United States.
“The Biden administration must now move swiftly to terminate ‘Remain in Mexico’ and establish the legal framework to unwind Title 42. The United States has a legal and moral obligation to protect asylum seekers, and I will continue fighting for a humane immigration system that prioritizes fairness and safety for all people.”