While the FBI raid of Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago dominated news headlines Monday, the Department of Homeland Security quietly announced it will end the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy and permit thousands of migrants to enter the country at the southern border.
The decision comes after a federal district court lifted an injunction blocking the Biden administration from ending the policy, officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols.
On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Biden administration had the legal authority to terminate the program. President Joe Biden had campaigned against Migrant Protection Protocols in 2020, arguing it was inhumane, like other Trump immigration policies he has repealed.
Under former President Donald Trump, the DHS required migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to wait in Mexico for their immigration hearings. This policy was meant to address the widespread problem of migrants coming to the U.S. and disappearing within the country when they are supposed to show up in court. About 70,000 migrants were made to wait in Mexico under the Trump administration.
“As Secretary Mayorkas has said, MPP has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border,” the DHS said in a statement.
DHS officials said migrants are no longer being enrolled in MPP and individuals currently waiting in Mexico for their asylum claims to be processed will be disenrolled when they return to the U.S. for their court dates.
Biden first tried to repeal MPP in June of last year, arguing the policy was ineffective and inhumane. Immigration activists who strongly opposed the policy reported that migrants waiting in Mexican border cities had been victims of violent assaults, kidnappings, and other crimes. But U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk blocked the DHS from repealing “Remain in Mexico” after Republican-led state officials sued claiming federal law required migrants arriving in the U.S. on land from a contiguous territory to be detained and removed.
The Supreme Court disagreed. The majority ruled that Congress has given the executive branch discretion to remove foreign asylum seekers, but that it was not required to do so.
DHS officials said the Biden administration continues to enforce the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 public health order, which requires asylum seekers to wait outside the U.S. and gives immigration officials power to expedite deportations.
“Individuals encountered at the Southwest Border who cannot establish a legal basis to remain in the United States will be removed or expelled,” the DHS said.