Supreme Court rebuffs Biden over Trump-era 'Remain in Mexico' policy

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rebuffed the Biden administration's effort to halt the reinstatement of a controversial Trump-era immigration measure known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

In a brief order that broke along familiar ideological lines, the conservative-majority court declined to intervene after a lower court revived the policy, which requires asylum-seekers at the southern border to stay in Mexico while their applications are processed.

Justice Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand Biden rips 'extreme' new Texas abortion law Six-week abortion ban goes into effect in Texas MORE wrote that the administration had failed to show it was likely to ultimately prevail in defending the lawfulness of its decision to rescind the Trump measure, officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).


Alito, who handles emergency requests from Texas, referred the matter to the court. None of his fellow conservative justices commented on the matter, though the court’s three liberals indicated they would have granted the administration’s request.

The court’s move comes after a federal judge in Texas ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the program in response to a lawsuit by the attorneys general of Texas and Missouri. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit let stand that ruling, prompting the Biden administration’s emergency request to the justices.

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE’s policy, implemented in 2019, blocked migrants at the Mexican border from entering the U.S. to apply for asylum, leaving what the Biden administration estimates is now around 25,000 people awaiting their fates in Mexico.

More than 60,000 asylum-seekers were returned to Mexico under the MPP, a departure from previous practice of allowing those fleeing violence to cross the border and apply for asylum within the U.S.

The Biden administration sought to formally end the Trump-era policy in June, which was spelled out in a memorandum by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — The Quad confab Mayorkas defends Biden policies on migrants in tense White House briefing MORE.

But earlier this month, Texas-based U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, ruled that the Biden administration had failed to provide a legally adequate rationale for its rescission and ordered that the policy would have to remain in place until the administration undergoes a lengthy administrative procedure to overturn it.