The Biden administration announced earlier this week that it’s ending an immigration policy implemented by the Trump administration, referred to as “Remain in Mexico.” The program has forced migrants seeking asylum to stay in Mexico while awaiting a decision on their application for U.S. protections.
When President Joe Biden took office in 2021, his administration ended the program, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP. Texas and Missouri sued the administration over ending it, and a federal district court in Texas sided with the states and made the Biden administration restart the program.
When the Biden administration appealed, the case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which said that the administration did in fact have the authority to end the program.
“That ruling has basically taken effect this week,” said Nick Miroff, who reports on immigration enforcement for The Washington Post. “And the Department of Homeland Security said it would no longer place any more migrants in the program, meaning it would no longer send them back to Mexico. And those who are in Mexico waiting would be allowed to enter the United States and be taken out of the program once they’re here and appearing for their court dates.”
The states that sued are filing for a stay with the district court to get the program’s wind-down delayed, Miroff said, but DHS is moving forward with not putting anyone else in the program.
“So now, if an asylum seeker comes to the United States border and says they they fear persecution in their home country, then they will be screened and in many cases granted a hearing in U.S. courts where they’re allowed to to state their cases,” Miroff said. “Typically, they are released from federal detention and they’re allowed to live and work in the United States while their case is playing out.”
And as for how it’s playing out politically, Miroff said, it’s part of the broader controversy created by the extraordinary rise in the number of people crossing into the U.S. since Biden took office and rolled back many of the Trump administration’s policies.
“We’ve seen record numbers of people crossing the border, and this was one of the last remaining Trump-era measures that was in place to try to limit those crossings,” Miroff said. “But that said, the version that the Biden administration restarted was a much more modest, smaller program than Trump tried. Just to give you some perspective, the Trump administration placed nearly 70,000 people in Remain in Mexico program while Trump was in office. And Biden so far has only returned about 6,000 people, and many of them have been readmitted into the United States.”