The Supreme Court said in a 6–3 ruling Tuesday that the Biden administration had unlawfully ended the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy that requires migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait outside of U.S. borders while their claims are processed.
According to the Associated Press, the decision comes roughly a week after a federal district court judge had ruled that the policy, first established under former President Donald Trump, must be reinstated, saying the Biden White House failed to provide a legally sound reason for terminating it.
Late last week, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito had issued a temporary stay allowing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to continue its lack of enforcement of the policy as the high court considered whether the lower court’s ruling had merit. On Tuesday, the final decision by SCOTUS dealt a major blow to President Joe Biden and his allies on immigration.
“Arbitrary and capricious”
The AP notes that Biden had moved to terminate the “Remain in Mexico” policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), on his first day in office. According to Reuters, the move was soon challenged by the Republican attorneys general of Texas and Missouri.
In its ruling, which sided with the states, the Supreme Court said the Biden administration had “failed to show a likelihood of success on the claim that the memorandum rescinding the Migrant Protection Protocols was not arbitrary and capricious.”
The ruling was supported by all three Trump-appointed justices, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Neil Gorsuch, as well as Justices Alito and Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts.
According to the AP, those in dissent, Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, “did not write an opinion expressing their views of the case.”
“A big win”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Biden’s DHS issued a statement expressing disappointment over the court’s decision, which they’d hoped would result in a stay on the case, the AP reported. DHS also said it would continue to fight against the policy.
The government is supported in its fight by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has said the “Remain in Mexico” program is “illegal.”
“The government must take all steps available to fully end this illegal program, including by re-terminating it with a fuller explanation. What it must not do is use this decision as cover for abandoning its commitment to restore a fair asylum system,” a spokesperson for the ACLU told the AP.
Supporters of the Trump-era program, meanwhile, have said an ongoing crisis at the U.S.–Mexico border will only get worse without it.
“What we’ve seen of course since Biden’s reversal of MPP…has been an unmitigated disaster at the southern border,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) told Fox News this week. “It’s been a humanitarian crisis, it’s been a national security crisis, and so to get this victory and reinstate President Trump’s successful policy is a big win.”