Supreme Court Ready to Rule on Trump-Era ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments this week on one of former President Trump’s most popular policies, it is being referred to as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. The real name of the policy is “Migrant Protection Protocols.” President Trump initiated this plan so that migrants seeking asylum in America would have to stay in Mexico until they were given an immigration hearing. The basis of the policy was focused on the COVID-19 crisis. 

President Donald Trump said the program was necessary to decrease what his team characterized as a flood of meritless asylum claims by migrants seeking to be released into the United States.

While Trump’s chair behind the desk in the Oval Office was still warm, Biden put a temporary stop to the program. It was one of his first actions as president. The states of Texas and Missouri filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration. 

In June of last year, the Department of Homeland Security attempted to end the program for good, but a judge ruled that it had to be put back in place and the DHS had to keep the policy. 

Those that are against this policy argue that migrants could be put in a dangerous situation while they are forced to wait in Mexico. And the Department of Homeland Security argues that the policy hurts the relationship the United States has with Mexico. 

Elizabeth Prelogar, the U.S. Solicitor General, argued before the High Court saying, “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.”

She also said that the federal judge misread the law and because of this U.S. officials have to have weekly negotiations with Mexican authorities. She believes that this leaves U.S. officials “hamstrung in implementing their own immigration priorities.”

But those who support the Trump-era policy believe it is an effective deterrent for illegal immigrants who attempt to cross the border by “claiming” the need for asylum. These supporters show that the program has already enabled 70,000 people to be granted asylum and it has kept others from entering illegally.

These supporters hope that the Supreme Court will agree with what a district judge has already concluded, the law in America requires the DHS to keep the program and either detain or return the immigrants. 

That judge was U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk who wrote in his opinion, “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.”

Basically, the judge ruled that the Biden administration did not adequately explain their reasons for canceling the policy and what they put in its place violated federal immigration law. An appeals court agreed with ruling, and the Supreme Court refused to intervene at that time. 

But the Supreme Court could also rule that a presidential administration has the power to end such a policy. The ruling will hinge on whether or not the executive branch has the authority to make such a move. 

The bigger picture right now is how this case will impact the midterm elections. The border crisis is a critical issue for Democrats, especially those in border states. This ruling will establish what role the courts will play in future policies. So it is clear that what happens in the High Court will become a topic from the political stumps across the country in the coming months.