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Biden asks court to let him scrap Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ rule

Asylum-seekers wait to be processed outside Penitas, Texas, on March 17, 2021, after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
September 24, 2021

The Biden administration urged a federal appeals court to let it cancel a controversial Trump-era policy requiring asylum-seekers at the U.S. southern border to wait in Mexico for their cases to be processed.

President Joe Biden is seeking to lift an injunction won by Texas and Missouri that is forcing him to re-implement a rule put in place in 2019. The U.S. Constitution gives the executive branch wide discretion over immigration policies, and Biden gave a proper justification for scrapping the measure, the U.S. Justice Department said in a court filing late Monday in New Orleans.

The fight over former President Donald Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols comes as hundreds of thousands of people from Central America and other nations have surged across the Mexico border into the U.S. in recent months and detentions of migrants have soared. Republicans say the crisis is evidence that Trump’s policies worked, while the Biden administration argues the “Remain in Mexico” rule is doing more harm than good.

The injunction “threatens to profoundly disrupt the government’s management of border security and foreign policy — two areas that the Supreme Court has recognized are committed to the discretion of the executive branch,” the Justice Department said in the filing.

The administration argues U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo, Texas, was being unrealistic when he ruled that Trump’s policy should remain in place until the border agency has enough capacity to detain hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants at the border “and millions of non-citizens unlawfully present inside the country.”

“That is to say, the government must keep MPP in perpetuity, given the reality of congressional appropriations,” the Justice Department said in the filing.

The Texas attorney general’s office didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the filing.


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