The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has made the decision that President Joe Biden’s administration may terminate the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP), which are commonly known as the “Remain in Mexico” program, but is returning part of the case to a lower court.
The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Biden administration did not break the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by phasing out the Stay in Mexico program, which was initially implemented by Mr. Trump’s administration.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Remain in Mexico initiative allows border crossers to be immediately returned to Mexico while they wait for their asylum and immigration hearings in the U.S., effectively ending “Catch and Release.”
The Biden administration violated the Immigration and Nationality Act when it attempted to rescind Remain in Mexico, according to both a lower court and an appellate court. The district judge additionally found that the government had flouted the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
The Supreme Court’s majority opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, with Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Brett Kavanaugh joining. In addition, Justice Kavanaugh penned a concurring viewpoint.
Samuel Alito filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch. Justice Amy Coney Barrett filed a dissenting opinion that was joined by Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch except for one sentence.
The highest court in the land has determined that the lower court did not have authority to previously stop the Biden administration from ending Leave in Mexico, but it also left open the possibility that the court does have the power to vacate the administration’s decision.
In the meantime, the case will be sent back to the court in the district where it will reside for further consideration.
The decision prevents the process from ending and sends the case back to the Northern District of Texas U.S. District Court. The lower courts may assist in keeping Remain in Mexico, making it a key issue during the 2024 election season, when it could be heard before SCOTUS again.
If the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the district court’s injunction, Remain in Mexico would remain in force at least until SCOTUS rules on an appeal for that decision, giving us a possible wait time of up to two years before any such ultimate conclusion from SCOTUS. Which could end up being in the middle of the next presidential election season.