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Biden asks Supreme Court to delay arguments in border wall, asylum cases

People in El Paso wave through the border wall to their families in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, on Oct. 26, 2019. Photo by Justin Hamel/UPI
People in El Paso wave through the border wall to their families in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, on Oct. 26, 2019. Photo by Justin Hamel/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 2 (UPI) -- The Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court to postpone hearing arguments in two cases filed against Trump administration policies, citing moves made by President Joe Biden that put their future in doubt.

Acting Solicitor General Counsel of Record Elizabeth Prelogar filed a request with the high court on Monday, asking the justices to cancel arguments scheduled to be heard on Feb. 22 concerning former President Donald Trump's move to construct physical barriers along the U.S. southern border.

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The request was made in order for the Biden administration to assess the legality of the funding and contracting methods used, the request said.

Biden, in his first day in office, issued a flurry of executive orders, including one that paused border wall construction while terminating the national emergency declaration Trump made in order to fund the project.

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Prelogar in a separate yet similar request also filed Monday asked the court to cancel arguments on March 1 in a case concerning Trump's so-called remain in Mexico immigration policy that forces asylum seekers to await court dates in the neighboring country.

In the second request, Prelogar states the program was suspended on Jan. 21 by a memorandum issued by Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary David Pekoske.

"We have consulted with counsel for respondents, who have informed us that in light of the current circumstances, respondents consent to petitioners' request to hold the briefing schedule in abeyance and to remove the case from the February 2021 argument calendar," both requests state.

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The American Civil Liberties Union, a plaintiff in both cases, said it is "a good start that the Biden administration is not rushing to defend Trump's illegal wall in court."

"Trump's wall devastated border communities, the environment and tribal sites," Dror Ladin, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's National Security Project, said in a statement, while calling on the Biden administration to do more for border communities and to tear down the wall.

Gloria smith, managing attorney at the Sierra Club, another plaintiff in the case, said she was relieved by the pause in border construction, stating it stripped environmental, cultural and health protections from border communities.

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"The new administration must implement a new vision for the borderlands -- one that protects human rights, tribal sovereignty and the environment," Smith said.

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