The Supreme Court certified the final order on Monday in Biden v. Texas, in which the court’s opinion, issued June 30, said that the Biden administration may end President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” border policy covering asylum applications by illegal migrants.
The court ruled 5-4 that Biden can end the program, formally titled the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). The policy had required asylum seekers and some other immigrants entering at the southern border to return to Mexico to wait for their court date before a federal immigration judge near the border.
The majority decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts said that the Biden administration’s decision to end MPP did not violate federal immigration law. Robers was joined by Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan.
The dissenters included Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett.
Biden first ordered that MPP be ended when he took office in 2021. He faced immediate litigation filed by Missouri and Texas that alleged he had violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act. That law provides the process required by Congress for the executive branch to develop or revise administrative regulations.
A lower federal appeals court ordered the Biden administration to maintain enforcement of the MPP last December.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that around 70,000 migrants were returned to Mexico under the MPP before Biden issued an order ending the program on his first day in office.
After Biden was ordered to reinstate enforcement of the MPP, DHS said that about 5,800 illegal aliens were returned to Mexico between December 2021 and June 2022. Most of those border crossers originated from Nicaragua, Cuba, Columbia, and Venezuela.
Supporters of the MPP policy said that it served as an effective deterrent to illegal migrants crossing into the U.S. to make facially questionable asylum claims only to disappear into the interior of the country. They pointed out that around 70,000 legitimate asylum seekers were able to safely enter while others have been detained outside the border.
An AP report last week indicated that the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration posted a sign at the Tijuana, Mexico Salvation Army migrant shelter advising potential border crossers of the status of the MPP. It advised migrants to wait for official confirmation from the Biden administration that they are free to enter the U.S.