Advocates welcomed the Supreme Court’s surprising decision in Biden v. Texas on Thursday, which ruled 5-4 that the president acted lawfully in attempting to end the previous administration’s Remain in Mexico policy, officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
Embracing this rare win, they renewed their calls for an end to this inhumane anti-asylum program that has continued to subject thousands of already vulnerable people to further harm.
“People arriving at the U.S. border seeking refuge deserve access to safety and to be treated with dignity,” said the Southern Poverty Law Center. The organization was among groups that sued over the policy soon after its implementation in January 2019. “The Biden administration must keep its promise to end this catastrophic policy as soon as possible and provide relief for the tens of thousands of people who were subjected to it.”
“The ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy was one of many policies put in place by the Trump administration to make it harder for people to exercise their right to asylum,” said United We Dream Deputy Director of Federal Advocacy Juliana Macedo do Nascimento. “This decision by the Supreme Court paves the way for the Biden administration to finally follow through on its promise to end this cruel and horrific policy once and for all.”
“Today’s ruling affirms the Biden administration’s authority to terminate the dangerous MPP policy and end the needless suffering and death stemming from it,” said Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) President Wendy Young. “Families and children should be safe while they exercise their right to seek protection in the United States, a fundamental part of the U.S. immigration system and of our commitment to help the most vulnerable.” Young urged the president to “act immediately” to end the policy.
The policy under the previous administration forced 70,000 asylum-seekers, and more than 7,000 asylum-seekers under the current administration, to wait in dangerous Mexican border cities for their U.S. immigration court dates. But the policy also resulted in a form of family separation. Some parents who had been sent to Mexico were forced to make the heart-wrenching decision to send their children back across the border alone.
These kids—now considered unaccompanied minors by the federal government even though they clearly didn’t come here unaccompanied—have then been sent to Office of Refugee Resettlement custody, while their parents and families have then been sent to squalid camps or nonsecure shelters.
“For more than three years, this horrifying policy has denied asylum seekers their right to due process and subjected them to crimes like rape, kidnapping, and torture in northern Mexican border cities while they await their court hearings,” said California U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, who is among the lawmakers who joined advocates in again urging an end to the policy. “We must keep working to restore the lawful processing of asylum seekers at the border, in keeping with America’s most deeply held values as a nation of immigrants.”
As noted yesterday, the Supreme Court’s decision does not outright end Remain in Mexico. The justices said it must still go back to a lower court that’s presided over by a right-wing judge, meaning this fight for migrant justice continues. (Read more on the legal aspects from America’s Voice legal advisor David Leopold here.)
“Today’s victory at the Supreme Court is a testament to the strength of the immigrant rights movement and the people across the country who fought back against this and other cruel deterrence policies, which just this week contributed to the tragic deaths of more than 50 migrants in San Antonio, Texas,” said National Immigration Law Center. “This is a significant victory, but it does not obscure how much damage this ideologically driven and politically motivated Court has done to a range of rights during this term. Our work is far from over.”
Republished with permission from Daily Kos.