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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and President Biden at the White House this year. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to rule on whether it is required to keep the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" policy.

Why it matters: President Biden was forced by a court order this month to restart the controversial program, which makes asylum seekers wait in Mexico for U.S. court hearings. The administration is seeking to end the program, again, per Axios' Stef Kight.

Driving the news: The Justice Department's Supreme Court filing asks the justices to rule on whether Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is required to implement the directive, which is formally called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).

  • It's also asking whether the appeals court "erred" by concluding that Mayorkas' decision terminating MPP had no legal effect.
  • "In short, the lower courts have commanded DHS to implement and enforce the short-lived and controversial MPP program in perpetuity," attorneys for the Justice Department wrote.

The big picture: The Biden administration first tried to end the program in June, but a U.S. district judge in Texas ordered it to restart the MPP in August, arguing the White House ended the program improperly. The ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court.

  • Mayorkas issued a memo in October announcing the Department of Homeland Security's intent to end the MPP, only to be blocked by a federal appeals court.
  • The resumption of the MPP this month saw several humanitarian changes, including a policy to offer all migrants COVID-19 vaccines before being returned to Mexico.

Go deeper

What's next for Ohio House, Senate redistricting

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Wednesday's Ohio Supreme Court redistricting ruling — invalidating the state legislative maps and ordering leaders to draw new ones — set off shockwaves in Buckeye State political circles.

30 mins ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull.
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden to announce plan to distribute 400 million masks for free — Government website for free COVID tests launches early.
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker