Late Friday, a federal judge ordered Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration to reinstate a key policy enacted by former President Donald Trump. The policy required foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States through the southern border – illegally or without proper documentation – to be returned to Mexico and detained there while their legal cases were adjudicated.
Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk ordered Biden to “enforce and implement [Migrant Protection Protocols, commonly referred to as ‘Remain in Mexico’] in good faith until such a time as it has been lawfully rescinded in compliance with the [Administrative Procedure Act] and until such a time as the federal government has sufficient detention capacity to detain all aliens subject to mandatory detention under Section 1255 without releasing any aliens because of a lack of detention resources.”
The court has stayed the applicability of the opinion and order for 7 days to allow the government to appeal it.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who filed the lawsuit with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, celebrated the win on social media, tweeting: “Big win for border security!”
“We just won our second immigration lawsuit against the Biden Admin! They unlawfully tried to shut down the legal and effective Remain-in-Mexico program, but Texas and Missouri wouldn’t have it,” Paxton’s office wrote in a tweet. “Together we sued, and just handed Biden yet another major loss!”
“My office has been leading the way nationally in fighting human trafficking, and the Biden Administration’s lax border policies increase the risk for human trafficking at the border and, in turn, in Missouri,” Eric Schmitt said in a statement. “Today’s massive win was crucial – re-implementing the Migrant Protection Protocols will help secure the border and fight the scourge of human trafficking.”
The Trump administration established and expanded MPP in 2019, which involved returning migrants to Mexico rather than releasing them into the United States while their asylum cases were heard.
In collaboration with Mexico, the policy resulted in court tents being set up along the border in places like Laredo, Texas, where migrants could briefly enter for hearings before returning to Mexico.
The judge’s order comes after Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released new statistics yesterday showing that Biden’s border crisis worsened for the sixth consecutive month. Accordingly, US Customs and Border Protection apprehended 212,672 illegal aliens—the worst month ever recorded by DHS, which was founded in 2002.
Schmitt explained the importance of the Remain in Mexico policy in a longer statement:
Aimed at reducing a key incentive to illegal immigration – the ability to stay in the United States during immigration proceedings, even without valid claims to asylum – the Migrant Protection Protocols were implemented by President Trump in 2018 and related to migrants who have no legal entitlement to enter the United States but who depart from a third country and transit through Mexico to reach the United States land border.
Before the Migrant Protection Protocols were enacted by the Trump Administration, illegal aliens hoping to gain entry into the United States would attempt to “game” the immigration system by traveling from a third country like Guatemala or Nicaragua through Mexico and claiming asylum in the United States. More often than not, those who made unmeritorious or unsubstantiated claims for asylum were arrested at the border, given a notice to appear, and admitted into the United States. Those who were released into the interior often never showed up to their court dates and disappeared.
Through the Migrant Protection Protocols, migrants who were eligible for the MPP, which was determined by an immigration official at the border, were given a Notice to Appear and were returned to Mexico to await those proceedings. These protocols significantly reduced detention and enforcement burdens on the Department of Homeland Security and others. On January 20, 2021, President Biden suspended the Migrant Protection Protocols in a two-sentence memo. Today’s order completely vacated that memo.