Will the Remain in Mexico Policy Be Reinstated?

On August 24, 2021, the Supreme Court virtually reinstated the Trump-era Migrants Protection Protocols Program (MPP), or, as it more commonly called, “Remain in Mexico policy”, which made asylum seekers from Central America to wait for their court hearings in Mexico, without being allowed into the US before such dates.  

Even though the Supreme Court ruling did not exactly state if the Court supported the policy, and just found that the MPP was incorrectly terminated by the Biden administration in January 2021, many civil rights activists believe the decision will eventually lead again to asylum seekers living for many months in migrant camps with poor conditions in Mexico close to the US border. The policy termination went into full effect in June 2021, and Texas and Missouri filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, stating the program was ended arbitrarily. The case was later approved by a Texas federal judge, and then the Court of the 5th Circuit upheld the decision. In turn, Joe Biden appealed and asked the Supreme Court to stay the ruling, while the appellation is being considered. The Supreme Court, however, denied the motion and upheld the decision of the Court of the 5th Circuit. Joe Biden then promised to continue fighting for the policy’s permanent termination, although without providing any specific details. 

It is yet not clear what would happen to asylum applicants who were allowed to enter the U.S. after the MPP implementation was stopped in February 2021, however, it is believed that the Supreme Court’s ruling will not affect them, and they will remain in the country while waiting for their immigration court hearings. 

Photo by Phil Botha

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