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Supreme Court rules Biden could end controversial Trump policy

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the Biden administration has properly ended a Trump-era policy that is forcing some U.S. asylum seekers to wait in Mexico.

The judges’ 5-4 decision for the administration came in a case over the “Stay in Mexico” policy under President Donald Trump. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the decision and was joined by co-conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh as well as the court’s three liberal judges – Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

President Joe Biden suspended the program on his first day in office in January 2021. But lower courts ordered that it be reinstated in response to a Republican-led Texas and Missouri lawsuit. The current administration has sent far fewer people back to Mexico than the Trump administration did.

The heart of the legal battle revolved around the question of whether immigration authorities, with far less detention capacity than necessary, had to send people to Mexico and whether they had the discretion under federal law to release asylum seekers in the United States while awaiting their hearings.

About 70,000 people are enrolled in the program, formally known as Migrant Protection Protocols, after President Donald Trump launched it in 2019, making it a centerpiece of efforts to deter asylum seekers.

After Biden’s suspension of the program, Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, terminated it in June 2021. In October, the department provided additional justifications for the death of the policy, in vain in the courts.

The program resumed in December, but barely 3,000 migrants enrolled by the end of March, during a period when authorities stopped migrants about 700,000 times at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Democratic-led states and progressive groups were on the side of the administration. Republican-run states and conservative groups sided with Texas and Missouri.

The case is Biden v. Texas, 21-954.

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