A Supreme Court order reinstating the Trump-era “Remain-in-Mexico” policy is already having an effect on the border, with Border Patrol officials telling Fox News that they have started turning away more migrants trying to enter the U.S.
A Border Patrol source in La Joya, Texas, told Fox News that they are now sending all families back to Mexico, unless they have a child under the age of 1, or if a migrant is pregnant.
In a 6-3 decision last month, the court denied a request by the Biden administration to stop a federal court ruling ordering the administration to reinstate the policy – officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols – which was a major 2019 border security program that kept migrants in Mexico as they awaited their hearings.
Critics called the policy, which led to the establishment of tent courts across the border, cruel and dangerous for migrants. The Trump administration said the policy ended catch-and-release, reducing the pull factors bringing migrants north. Biden began dismantling the policy shortly after entering office, and formally ended it in June as one of a number of moves the administration made to reverse President Donald Trump’s border policies.
Texas and Missouri sued, arguing that the ending of the policy in June was both harmful to their states and in breach of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
In the initial ruling, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ordered the Biden administration “to enforce and implement MPP in good faith” until it has been “lawfully rescinded” in compliance with the APA, and until the federal government has enough detention capacity to detain all migrants subject to mandatory detention.
In response to a query about the extent to which MPP had been re-established across the border, the Department of Homeland Security pointed Fox News to its August statement after the Supreme Court ruling which said while it disagreed with the decision and will appeal, “DHS will comply with the order in good faith.”
“Alongside interagency partners, DHS has begun to engage with the Government of Mexico in diplomatic discussions surrounding the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP),” the statement said. “DHS remains committed to building a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system that upholds our laws and values.”
MPP’s re-establishment would be in addition to the Biden administration’s renewal of Title 42 public health protections that allow for the rapid removal of migrants at the southern border due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden administration had not been applying Title 42 to unaccompanied children or many migrant families, but had been removing some families and single adults due to the order.
Approximately 45% of the more than 212,000 migrant encounters in July resulted in a Title 42 expulsion, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.
The Biden administration has defended its strategy to tackle the border crisis, which includes a focus on “root causes” in Central America and going after smugglers, even as the numbers of encounters at the border have soared. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said that the plan is working, but will take time, while also blaming the Trump administration for shutting down legal asylum pathways.
“We have a plan, we are executing our plan and that takes time,” he said last month.
Republicans have blamed the rollback of Trump-era policies like MPP and border wall construction – as well as pushes for pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country – for fueling the migrant surge and creating a crisis at the border.
The Biden administration’s immigration policies were dealt a further legal blow last month when a federal court imposed a preliminary injunction on guidance for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers that dramatically narrowed the priorities for arrest and deportation.