Migrants will suffer kidnapping and other crimes if forced to wait across the border for a resolution to their claims, advocates say
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Migrant advocates across the country are urging President Biden to re-terminate the “Remain in Mexico” program as soon as possible. This, after the Supreme Court on Tuesday night declined to stay a federal judge’s order to restore the Trump-era program requiring asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for the outcome of their cases in U.S. immigration court.
“The Biden administration must explore every possible avenue to permanently terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols program. It is our moral obligation,” tweeted the National Immigration Law Center. “There’s overwhelming evidence that MPP has inflicted extreme violence and inhumane conditions upon thousands of people seeking refuge.”
Trump sent more than 65,000 asylum-seekers to Mexico beginning in 2020 following a surge that overwhelmed the federal government’s capacity to timely process the claims and that drew border agents away from their patrol duty so they could help at processing centers.
But the migrants were sent over to Mexican border cities where drug gangs are out of control and often abducted them expecting ransom from relatives or abused physically or sexually.
Biden ended the MPP program as soon as he took office this year, but a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Texas and Missouri sought its reinstatement.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the ruling, tweeting, “PAXTON WINS AGAIN – REINSTATED Trump’s Remain in Mexico Policy! The US Supreme Court ruled for TX – again. SCOTUS said Remain in Mexico policy must be implemented now! #MPP #Immigration #Trump #BidenBorderCrisis.”
“There are still options. The Biden administration should go through a new process analyzing the harms of the policy through a wider lens and re-terminate it. The future of the program also depends on Mexico’s compliance. If the Mexican government refuses to support this illegal and deeply cruel policy, it will be logistically challenging to re-start ‘Remain in Mexico,’” El Paso’s Hope Border Institute said in a statement.
Dylan Corbett, the organization’s executive director, said the “ball is in Biden’s court” now.
“Whether it’s Title 42 or ‘Remain in Mexico,’ the denial of asylum anywhere is a national shame. Today’s SCOTUS decision is inexplicable,” Corbett tweeted. “Biden needs to make necessary fixes, marshal a compassionate vision of protection at the border and restore asylum now.”
Title 42 is a federal public health order allowing swift expulsion of unauthorized migrants to prevent cross-border spread of COVID-19.
El Paso-based Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center also expressed shock.
“As a team, we are still digesting the news from the Supreme Court. We are still wondering what this means for those we serve and our work,” the organization said in a statement.
Group members helped many asylum-seekers who told stories of kidnapping, assault and rape while waiting in Juarez, Mexico for a resolution of their claims in the United States.
“The silver lining for our Mexico team was being able to help with the entry of thousands of asylum-seekers during the MPP wind-down process. We greeted them, helped educate them on the legal process and cheered them on before they boarded the bus to the United States,” the organization said. “That joy is gone for now.”
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt called the MPP program a successful Trump-era policy that helped fight the “crisis at the border.”
In a statement following the Supreme Court’s ruling, Schmitt said, “This is a huge win for border security and the rule of law, and highlights our efforts to continually fight back on federal government overreach.”