Updated Aug 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DOJ asks Supreme Court for last minute stay over Trump's "Remain in Mexico" program

Merrick Garland, U.S. attorney general, speaks during a news conference

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to suspend a lower court's order that would force the administration to reinstate one of President Trump's border policies, which left tens of thousands of migrants to await asylum hearings in Mexico.

Why it matters: Ending the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) policy was one of President Biden’s campaign promises, and he suspended the program on his first day in office. The administration has now brought thousands of impacted migrants into the United States — some of whom waited years in Mexico.

  • Now, unless the Supreme Court intervenes, federal courts may force the administration to reinstate the policy on Saturday — or at least make a good faith effort.
  • A federal appeals court refused to grant the administration their request for a delay in reviving the so-called "Remain in Mexico" policy late Thursday evening.

What they're saying: The Texas federal judge’s ruling from earlier this month “requires the government to abruptly reinstate a broad and controversial immigration enforcement program that has been formally suspended for seven months and largely dormant for nearly nine months before that,” states the government's Friday evening court filing.

Between the lines: Immigration advocates and Democrats often criticized the MPP program in which migrants were often forced to live in dangerous conditions.

  • Mexico is already taking in tens of thousands of migrants each month returned under another Trump-era policy linked to the coronavirus, called Title 42, which the Biden administration kept in place.
  • A Mexican official told Reuters that it was not feasible for the country to take in more migrants.
  • This comes as border numbers continue to rise, with July seeing a new record for unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. The administration also faces a separate lawsuit over its use of Title 42.
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