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Supreme Court says Biden must reinstate 'Remain in Mexico' policy

Supreme Court says Biden must reinstate 'Remain in Mexico' policy
Hundreds of asylum seekers set up tents by the port of entry at El Chaparral plaza in Tijuana, Mexico, on March 26. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 24 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Biden administration to reinstate former President Donald Trump's so-called Remain in Mexico immigration policy.

The Biden administration had asked the high court to block a lower court's injunction saying it must enforce the policy requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their U.S. court hearings.

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Trump implemented the policy in 2018, but President Joe Biden's Department of Homeland Security formally rescinded it June 1. Under the policy, border officials directed some 68,000 asylum seekers to return to Mexico, where human rights advocates say they are forced to seek refuge in squalid and dangerous tent camps on the Mexico side of the border.

The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 vote, said the Biden administration failed to show a likelihood of success on its claim that rescinding the policy was not "arbitrary and capricious."

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The Department of Homeland Security responded in a statement that it "respectfully disagrees" with the high court's decision and it will continue to "vigorously challenge" the district court's ruling.

"As the appeal process continues, however, DHS will comply with the order in good faith," the department said, adding it along with interagency partners have begun diplomatic discussions with Mexico concerning the policy, which is formally called the Migrant Protection Protocols.

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The ruling comes after a federal judge last week blocked Biden administration immigration enforcement priorities limiting who border agents should seek to deport.

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The American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the MPP when it was first implemented, called the Supreme Court's Tuesday decision a "setback" but said the Biden administration can still move forward with "dismantling this program permanently."

"Ending the Trump-era Return to Mexico program was and is the right thing to do," the organization said via Twitter. "The only purpose of the program is to punish people for seeking asylum by trapping them in miserable and dangerous conditions. The government must keep its commitment to restoring a fair asylum system."

Customs and Border Protection said it had 212,672 encounters at the southern border in July, the highest monthly figure in 21 years and a 13% increase from June.

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