Supreme Court Says Biden Can End 'Shameful' Remain in Mexico Asylum Policy

A volunteer welcomes members of a group of 25 asylum-seekers allowed into the United States on February 25, 2021 in Brownsville, Texas. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

Supreme Court Says Biden Can End 'Shameful' Remain in Mexico Asylum Policy

"Now is the turn for Congress to get rid of Title 42, and provide a solution to the weakened asylum system in place, to provide a humane and fair alternative to vulnerable children, families, and individuals fleeing unsafe conditions and persecution."

Immigrant rights advocates on Thursday welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of a challenge to the Biden administration's move to end a Trump-era program under which asylum-seekers arriving at the southwestern border are forced to remain in Mexico while their cases are decided.

"This is a bittersweet victory after so many lives have been lost to atrocious immigration deterrence policies."

In a 5-4 decision--in which right-wing Justices Brett Kavanaugh and John Roberts joined their liberal colleagues--the court in Biden v. Texasruled that the Biden administration can end the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly known as "Remain in Mexico."

However, the justices are also sending the case back to a lower court, which will rule on the Biden administration's attempts to end the MPP program.

The administration announced it was ending MPP earlier this month. However, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected the plan after Texas and Missouri sued to block the move.

"We're not done winning. And we're ready to demand a future where children are not ripped from their parents, lives are not lost at our border, and all of us are safe, not stranded," the advocacy group Families Belong Together tweeted in response to the ruling.

"Remain in Mexico--much like Title 42--is a shameful Trump policy that turns away vulnerable people and families seeking safety, forcing them to survive in dangerous makeshift camps without water, food, or medical care for months or even years," the group continued.

"Biden campaigned on repealing Remain in Mexico and the American people elected him to turn the page on Trump's cruelty," Families Belong Together added. "[The] president did the right thing when he moved to end Remain in Mexico and now his administration can finally follow through on the will of the American people."

Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said in a statement that "the Supreme Court's decision to remand Biden v. Texas back to the lower court is a welcome development."

"It means, however, that the fight to help those fleeing persecution and seeking protection in the U.S. continues," she added. "Since 2019, more than 1,500 people forced to wait in Mexico have faced murder, rape, torture, kidnappings, and other violent acts... underscored by this week's heartbreaking and tragic loss of at least 53 souls seeking a better life."

"America needs a functioning immigration system that is humane, capable of meeting the demands of 21st-century crises, and that upholds our legal obligation to allow people fleeing persecution to seek safety inside our borders," Vignarajah added.

Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights, said that "this is a bittersweet victory after so many lives have been lost to atrocious immigration deterrence policies."

"This decision was long overdue, and it is shocking that the Supreme Court waited until today to determine the danger that migrants have been subjected to since Trump enacted this deadly policy," he continued.

"Now is the turn for Congress to get rid of Title 42," Garcia added, "and provide a solution to the weakened asylum system in place, to provide a humane and fair alternative to vulnerable children, families, and individuals fleeing unsafe conditions and persecution in their home countries."

Title 42, a provision of the Public Health Safety Act first invoked by the Trump administration as the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020, has been used to remove more than one million asylum-seekers--the majority of them during the tenure of President Joe Biden.

"As long as Title 42 is in place there will continue to be devastating harm to asylum seekers," ACLU civil rights attorney Lee Gelernt toldAxios. "Unfortunately, the administration is clearly in no hurry to end Title 42."

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