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Biden administration can drop “remain in Mexico” policy, but what will it use instead?

Andy Uhler Jul 5, 2022
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Migrants approach the U.S. border on Gateway International Bridge in Brownsville, Texas on March 2, 2021. President Biden announced that he was ending the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) enacted under President Trump that sent asylum seekers back to Mexico as they awaited their trial dates. Photo by SERGIO FLORES/AFP via Getty Images

Biden administration can drop “remain in Mexico” policy, but what will it use instead?

Andy Uhler Jul 5, 2022
Heard on:
Migrants approach the U.S. border on Gateway International Bridge in Brownsville, Texas on March 2, 2021. President Biden announced that he was ending the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) enacted under President Trump that sent asylum seekers back to Mexico as they awaited their trial dates. Photo by SERGIO FLORES/AFP via Getty Images
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The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 last week that the Biden administration could reverse a Trump-era initiative, the Migrant Protection Protocols, that requires asylum seekers – most from Central and South America – to remain in Mexico while their cases are reviewed in U.S. courts. This raises a variety of questions for President Joe Biden’s immigration strategy.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh said the Supreme Court’s ruling in Biden vs. Texas addressed a legal problem, not a political one.

“The court today recognized that this is really part of a bigger political problem of not enough funding for our broken immigration system,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at Cornell. 

The idea behind the “remain in Mexico” policy was to discourage immigration. It also meant border states wouldn’t have to process and house as many migrants. But that forced thousands of people, including those with valid asylum claims, into dangerous conditions at the Mexican border.

Avidan Cover teaches human rights law at Case Western Reserve University. He said the Biden administration has to replace “remain in Mexico” with something.

“Whatever the mandate is to detain individuals, if there isn’t sufficient funding to ensure that there’s both sufficient capacity and of course, humane capacity, then the executive branch needs to look for other options,” he said.

The Department of Homeland Security processed more than 670,000 people in fiscal year 2021 along the southern border. It had the capacity to detain about 34,000.

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