Advocates for strong immigration policies between the US and Mexico said the Biden Administration ending the Remain in Mexico program is a sign of the White House placing politics above the country’s security.
Chris Russo, the president of Texans for Strong Borders, told The Dallas Express that by ending MPP, “the Biden administration has put Open Borders radicalism ahead of the interests of the American people.”
“The Biden administration has demonstrated that it will do virtually anything to undermine existing immigration law and repealing MPP is no exception,” added Russo. “Under Biden’s DHS Secretary Mayorkas, countless illegal aliens have already been released into the United States without a court date and many more will simply refuse to attend their hearings and instead flee into the interior of the country.”
The administration announced this week the end of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), better known as the “Remain in Mexico” program.
The announcement comes after a federal judge lifted his order requiring the program to remain in place following a June US Supreme Court ruling that the Biden administration did have the legal authority to end the program.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a statement late Monday saying it will no longer enroll asylum seekers into MPP.
“DHS is committed to ending the court-ordered implementation of MPP in a quick, and orderly, manner,” the statement reads. “Individuals are no longer being newly enrolled into MPP, and individuals currently in MPP in Mexico will be disenrolled when they return for their next scheduled court date. Individuals disenrolled from MPP will continue their removal proceedings in the United States.
“As Secretary Mayorkas has said, MPP has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border,” according to the statement.
The Trump administration implemented the MPP program in early 2019 when border crossings exceeded 100,000 per month.
The MPP applied only to asylum seekers applying for admission to the U.S. who traveled from a third country through Mexico to a point of entry at the U.S. border. Under the program, these individuals had to remain in Mexico while awaiting the court hearing on their asylum cases.
Typically, asylum seekers with pending claims for admission to the U.S. are allowed to live and work in the United States while awaiting a response from the immigration courts. In some instances, that could be several years as backlogs swamp U.S. immigration courts.
By the end of 2020, the Trump administration had sent nearly 70,000 asylum seekers applying for U.S. admission to Mexico to wait for their hearing in court, according to the American Immigration Council.
The Biden administration sought to end the MPP soon after taking office. However, Texas and Missouri sued, and in August 2021, US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled in favor of the states, forcing the program to remain in effect while the case continued to make its way through the courts.
Since then, the administration has enrolled asylum seekers into MPP at a far slower rate than Trump. Between December 2021 and early July, about 5,800 asylum seekers were sent back to Mexico to await their U.S. court dates, according to the most recent DHS data available.
In June, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Biden administration could end the program.
Lawyers for the administration claimed in court arguments that the program was not a sufficient deterrent of migrants and had inherent constraints because of compliance being needed from Mexico, a sovereign nation, and Chief Justice John Roberts agreed, writing the majority opinion.
“Nothing prevents an agency from undertaking new agency action while simultaneously appealing an adverse judgment against its original action,” Roberts wrote, noting that the district judge was wrong in ruling that the Biden administration had to keep the MPP in place while it was litigated through the courts.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the dissenting opinion, arguing that the government does not have the authority to release asylum applicants into the U.S. (instead of other countries) if it is believed they may not be eligible for admission.
“When it appears that one of these aliens is not admissible, may the Government simply release the alien in this country and hope that the alien will show up for the hearing at which his or her entitlement to remain will be decided? Congress has provided a clear answer to that question, and the answer is no,” Alito wrote.