‘Stay in Mexico’ policy honored at Supreme Court

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) — Immigration is the focus of the Supreme Court this week. A case involving a Trump-era policy will be heard by all nine justices in Biden v. Texas. It comes down to a decision by the Biden administration to scrap a Trump-era rule that sent asylum-seeking immigrants back to Mexico to await trial in the United States.

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

But the states of Texas and Missouri have sued, arguing that reversing the policy is illegal. The lower courts agreed, keeping the measure in place while Biden’s Justice Department appeals.

“You have the option of sending them back to Mexico, you have the option of detaining them, but you don’t have the option of just releasing everyone,” said Julie Axelrod of the Center for Immigration Studies.

Axelrod submitted a judicial amicus brief to the court supporting the States. She argues that border security is at stake. Axelrod believes the Biden administration reversing the policy removes a chilling effect that could prevent a rush of immigrants from seeking asylum in the United States.

“What he did here was basically a deliberate choice to sacrifice control of the border,” Axelrod said.

Karen Tumlin of the Justice Action Center argues that it is well within the administration’s rights to drop the policy.

“We know tens of thousands of people have been stranded, injured, abused, kidnapped awaiting that day in court,” Tumlin said.

Tumlin said this case was 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 former president’s policy and the ability to execute the mandates of voters?”

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

Oral arguments are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday. A court opinion is not expected until late spring or early summer.

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