Washington (AFP) – The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to block a court ruling ordering the Biden administration to reinstate a Trump-era policy of forcing people to wait in Mexico while seeking asylum in the United States.
With three liberal justices opposing, the court said the administration may have violated federal law in its efforts to repeal the program informally known as Remain in Mexico.
It is not clear how many people will be affected and how quickly. Under the lower court ruling, management must make a “good faith effort” to restart the program.
A federal judge in Texas earlier ordered the reinstatement of the programme, officially called the Immigrant Protection Protocols, last week. He and the Fifth U.S. Court of Appeals denied the administration’s request to suspend the ruling.
Judge Samuel Alito ordered a short adjournment to allow the court full time to consider the administration’s appeal to keep the ruling pending while the case continues to make its way through the courts.
The Fifth Circuit ordered an expedited consideration of the administration’s appeal.
The court offered a simple explanation for its action, though it cited its opinion last year rejecting the Trump administration’s efforts to end another immigration program, the deferral of work for child arrivals. In that case, the court held that the decision to terminate DACA was “arbitrary and capricious,” in violation of federal law.
The court wrote Tuesday, in an unsigned order, that the administration “failed to show the likelihood of success of the claim that the memorandum to repeal the Immigrant Protection Protocols was not arbitrary and capricious.”
The three dissenting justices did not write an opinion expressing their views on the case.
During Donald Trump’s presidency, policy required tens of thousands of immigrants seeking asylum in the United States to return to Mexico. It was intended to discourage asylum seekers, but critics said it deprived people of their legal right to seek protection in the United States, and forced them to wait in dangerous Mexican border towns.
The judge, U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Trump administration.
The Biden administration has argued in memos that the president has “clear authority to determine immigration policy” and that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mallorcas has discretion in deciding whether to return asylum seekers to Mexico.
In its submission to the Supreme Court on Friday, the administration argued that the policy had been dormant for more than a year and that bringing it back abruptly “would damage the United States’ relations with vital regional partners, severely disrupt its operations on the southern border, and threaten to create a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis.” .
The Trump administration largely stopped using a “stay in Mexico” policy at the start of the pandemic, at which point it began turning back nearly everyone who crosses the southwest border under a different protocol — a public health system still in place. The Biden administration said pre-pandemic policy had been “largely dormant” for months even before the COVID-19 outbreak.
President Joe Biden suspended the program on his first day in office, and the Department of Homeland Security terminated it in June.
Kacsmaryk was nominated to the federal bench by Trump. The Fifth Circuit panel that ruled Thursday night included two Trump appointees, Andrew Oldham and Corey Wilson, along with Jennifer Walker Elrod, who were nominated by President George W. Bush to the Court of Appeals.