US Supreme Court says the Biden administration can put an end to the ‘Remain In Mexico’ immigration policy

Mexican Amary Martinez, and her children, Jason and Itzel, sit on the edge of their tent at a migrant camp near El Chaparral pedestrian border bridge in Tijuana, Mexico, Friday, July 2, 2021. The migrant camp of about 2,000 asylum-seekers, mostly families, blocks a pedestrian entrance to the US border crossing with San Diego. Mexican officials have suggested they will try to relocate them in coming days in anticipation that the two governments could agree to reopen the border to non-essential travel in the coming weeks. (AP Photo/Emilio Espejel)

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Biden Administration has the authority to end the controversial Trump-era immigration policy known as “Remain in Mexico,” in a win for Joe Biden and his Administration’s ability to determine its own immigration strategy.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court narrowly affirmed the Biden Administration’s authority to oversee U.S.-Mexico border procedure and allows it to continue its efforts to end “Remain in Mexico”—officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)—the Trump-era policy of returning migrants who have made a claim for asylum to Mexico while their case is adjudicated.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the court’s three liberals. Justice Amy Coney Barrett dissented, joined in part by the court’s other conservatives.

In the majority opinion, Roberts said the Administration’s actions to end the policy did not violate the law in the way red states who challenged the move had argued, potentially clearing the way for Biden to stop enrolling migrants in the program. But Roberts noted the Administration’s actions could be challenged on other grounds—specifically pointing to one section of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA)—and sent the decision back to the lower courts for further proceedings on separate legal questions.

The decision comes just four days after an alleged people smuggling incident in a tractor trailer caused the deaths of 53 migrants in San Antonio, Texas. Some immigration experts and advocates blame strict policies at the U.S.-Mexico border like MPP for incentivizing dangerous unauthorized border crossings orchestrated by people smugglers. “The Supreme Court’s decision paves the way for the Biden Administration to adopt a more orderly immigration process at the border,” says David Bier, the associate director of immigration policy at the libertarian Cato Institute. “‘Remain in Mexico’ was a failure. It dealt with asylum seekers so inhumanely that rather than ‘remaining in Mexico,’ they repeatedly crossed the border illegally.”

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