Biden rescinds his stay in Mexico amid a legal battle

The Biden administration re-terminates the former President TrumpDonald Trump Former lawmakers sign brief to counter Trump’s claims of executive privilege in January 6 probe Fox poll shows Youngkin leads McAuliffe by 8 points among potential voters Iowa legislature passes redistribution proposal of districts MOREThe Remain in Mexico policy in an effort to combat a court ruling that forces the new administration to carry out the controversial policy that is often seen as an obstacle to seeking asylum.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) first acted in June to scrap the policy, which Trump introduced in 2019, forcing potential asylum seekers from various countries to wait for a possible ruling in their case in Mexico.

But that sparked a lawsuit and an initial victory from Texas and Missouri, which argued that the Biden administration too hastily withdrew the policy, under which the United States transported 70,000 asylum seekers to Mexico to await a determination in their case.

By drafting a new memorandum to rescind what is formally called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), the Biden administration is taking a page out of Trump’s playbook, using court rulings to sharpen the legal reasoning behind its decisions.

The memorandum does not go into effect immediately, but more fully describes the administration’s rationale for ending the program, which the Secretary of DHS Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasHillicon Valley – Blinken Introduces New Cyber ​​Office in State Biden Expands List of ‘Sensitive’ Places Where ICE Officers Cannot Make Arrests Lawmakers Divided on Next Steps to Protect Transportation Sectors Against Hackers MORE revoked for the first time with a short seven-page memorandum.

“After carefully considering the arguments, evidence, and perspectives presented by those who support the re-implementation of the MPP, those who support the termination of the program, and those who have advocated continuing the MPP in a modified form, I have determined that the MPP must be terminated. In reaching this conclusion, I recognize that the MPP probably contributed to reducing migratory flows. But it did so by imposing substantial and unjustifiable human costs on people who were exposed to harm while waiting in Mexico, “Mayorkas wrote in the Friday’s memo, adding that the policy “does not provide the fair process and humanitarian protections that all people deserve.”

A DHS official who spoke to reporters about the memorandum said he nods to an earlier ruling by a federal district court judge in reviewing “the alleged benefits of MPP” as well as its shortcomings.

“The MPP may very well have led to a reduction in irregular migration and a reduction in … border crossings between ports of entry, but the humanitarian costs of the program nonetheless, including costs that simply cannot be rectified. , justify the decision to finish, “said the official.

“There are certain problems with MPP that are endemic, inherent in the program that no amount of resources can fix,” they said, noting that the program makes it extremely difficult for migrants to access legal assistance and for the United States to address the concerns of protection and security. .

The Mayorkas memorandum also seeks to reject the idea that the MPP was effective in managing migration to the border.

“Correlation does not equal causation and, even here, the evidence is not conclusive,” Mayorkas wrote in reference to the decline in border encounters observed under the MPP.

While Mayorkas’s initial termination went into effect immediately, the latest memo is embroiled in the existing legal battle over MPP.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Biden administration to implement the policy “in good faith” as the litigation progresses, something DHS said it would begin to do in November.

While the Biden administration is currently in negotiations with Mexico to restart the program, recent DHS court documents indicate that the country has serious reservations about doing so, and outlines several steps it requires before it is willing to participate.

Many blame MPP for creating dangerous conditions along the border, where vulnerable asylum seekers are left living in poor conditions in migrant camps for months and years while awaiting legal action in the US.

Despite the tens of thousands who were transferred to Mexico under the policy, an estimated 25,000 people are still waiting after many of the potential asylum seekers simply left.

Mexico has told the United States that it does not want elderly, sick or LGBT asylum seekers sent to the country due to concerns for their safety. He also lobbied the United States to resolve cases more quickly, with DHS giving a “blanket commitment” to decide new asylum cases within six months.

“We have been working to be in a place where the MPP could be implemented in mid-November. Again, that depends on Mexico’s independent agreement and those talks are ongoing, ”a DHS official said Thursday.

The Biden administration is hopeful that the new memorandum will lead to a reversal by any of the courts that have forced it to reinstate Remain in Mexico.

“As long as the court order is in force, we are obliged to comply with it. But as we have said, we are fighting it vigorously, appealing vigorously, so, with this new memorandum, we will seek either a Fifth Circuit to overturn the decision of the district court or for the district court to do it itself, “said DHS. . the official told reporters.

While the Biden administration has sought to rescind the MPP, it has retained another Trump-era asylum policy, continuing to use Title 42 to quickly remove migrants without allowing them to seek protected status.

Immigration advocates have long argued that MPP is an illegal barrier to asylum seekers, who have the right to present their case in the US.

“Rebooting any version of the Trump administration’s notorious Stay in Mexico policy will lead to immense human suffering,” said Eleanor Acer, senior director of refugee protection at Human Rights First, when the Biden administration announced its plans to re-implement MPP. earlier this month.

“Trump 2.0 policies at the border are a recipe for cruelty, disorder, and ongoing violations of refugee law. The Biden administration must deliver on its promise to end this horrible program. “

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