Biden asks Supreme Court to cancel arguments on border wall, asylum cases
The Biden administration on Monday asked the Supreme Court to cancel upcoming arguments in cases challenging former President Trump’s border wall and policy requiring that asylum-seekers remain in Mexico.
The request follows day-one efforts by the new administration to reverse course on each, potentially making moot the Feb. 22 and March 1 hearings.
“The President has directed the Executive Branch to undertake an assessment of ‘the legality of the funding and contracting methods used to construct the wall,'” the administration wrote to the court.
“It would therefore be appropriate for the court to hold further proceedings in this case in abeyance to allow for the completion of the process that the president has directed,” it added.
The border wall case brought by the Sierra Club and others challenges $2.5 billion in Department of Defense spending that was diverted to complete construction — the same funding Biden is now reviewing.
The Department of Homeland Security similarly suspended a Trump-era policy requiring migrants, regardless of their nationality, to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are reviewed in the U.S.
More than 60,000 asylum-seekers were returned to Mexico under the program, a departure from previous practice of allowing those fleeing violence to cross the border and apply for asylum within the U.S.
That suit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and immigration advocacy groups on behalf of immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
In both cases, the filings noted that the challengers had agreed to the delays posed by the Biden administration.
“We are relieved to see a pause on wall construction while the Biden administration decides whether to defend Trump’s illegal and disastrous national emergency declaration,” Gloria Smith, a managing attorney at the Sierra Club, said in a release.
“Ultimately, the destructive border wall must be torn down…. The new administration must implement a new vision for the borderlands — one that protects human rights, tribal sovereignty and the environment,” she added.