By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – The U.S. Supreme Court says President Joe Biden’s administration can overturn a Trump-era policy that requires asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their cases are reviewed in U.S. courts.
Migrants mainly from Central and South America could so far be forced to return to Mexico while they await a hearing.
Former President Donald J. Trump said the “Remain in Mexico” program was to limit “a flood” of meritless asylum claims by migrants seeking to be released into the United States. Biden wants to change that, citing humanitarian reasons such as concerns that migrants will face violence and abuse when waiting across the border in Mexico.
The Supreme Court narrowly agreed. Its ruling was 5-4, saying immigration law gives the federal government the discretion to end the program, formally known as Migrant Protection Protocols.
The case will go back to lower courts for additional proceedings around Biden’s attempt to end the program.
Court observers said the hold on Biden’s bid to end the program remains in place, but Thursday’s ruling suggested that the order would be lifted shortly.
Thursday’s court decision came while the flow of migrants to the southwest border continued to strain law enforcement and humanitarian resources. Customs and Border Protection reported 239,416 encounters with migrants in May, a two percent increase compared to April; a quarter of those were repeat offenders.
Under President Trump, roughly 70,000 migrants were enrolled in the program and sent back to Mexico to await immigration hearings in the U.S. That number dropped under the Biden administration to just 5,000 migrants, according to official estimates.
A separate Trump-era border enforcement policy known as Title 42 — activated during the pandemic to rapidly expel migrants due to COVID — remained in effect Thursday and was unaffected by the court ruling.
Biden has also tried overturning Title 42, but lower courts ordered it continued as legal challenges proceed.
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