Judges hear battle over asylum seekers waiting in Mexico

Judges hear battle over asylum seekers waiting in Mexico

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The Biden administration is seeking Supreme Court permission to end a controversial Trump-era immigration program that forced some US asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their hearings. does.

Judges are hearing arguments Tuesday in the administration’s appeal of lower court rulings that required immigration officials to reinstate the “stay in Mexico” policy. According to the court filing, the administration has “twice determined that it is not in the interest of the United States”.

Texas and Missouri, which sued to keep the program, said it helped reduce the flow of people across the southern border into the US. “Many raise unqualified immigration claims, including asylum claims, in the hope that they will be released to the United States,” the states told the Supreme Court in a filing.

About 70,000 people were enrolled in the program, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocol, after President Donald Trump launched it in 2019 and made it the center of efforts to deter asylum seekers.

President Joe Biden suspended it on his first day in office and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyerkas abolished it in June 2021. In October, DHS presented additional justifications for the policy’s demise, to no avail in the courts.

The program resumed in December, but barely 3,000 migrants had enrolled by the end of March, during a period when authorities stopped migrants some 700,000 times. on the border.

The heart of the legal battle is whether the program is discretionary and can be terminated, as the administration argues, or essentially states that comply with Congressional orders not to release immigrants in this case. is the only way to do it. United States.

Without adequate detention facilities in the US, Texas and Missouri argue that the administration’s only option is to make migrants wait in Mexico until their asylum hearings.

The two sides separately disagree as to whether the way the administration went about dismantling the policy complied with a federal law that requires agencies to comply with the rules and explain the reasons for their actions. forces.

Those forced to wait in Mexico say they are intimidated in dangerous Mexican border cities and finding lawyers to handle their asylum hearings is very difficult.

Democratic-led states and progressive groups favor the administration. Republican-led states and conservative groups have sided with Texas and Missouri. These include the America First Legal Foundation, which is led by former Trump aides Stephen Miller and Mark Meadows.

As the court is weighing the asylum policy, the administration is expected to scrap another important Trump-era border policy that was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. This allows the authorities to expel migrants without the opportunity to seek asylum. Title 42 Decision to terminate authorizationNamed for the 1944 public health law, May 23 is being legally challenged by 22 states and faces growing divisions within Biden’s Democratic Party.