The Supreme Court decided last week, in the last instance of his term, that the Biden administration could roll back Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (MPPs). Known informally as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, it has forced thousands of non-Mexican migrants to await their hearings in US immigration court in dangerous border towns. While the decision was a big win for the government and immigrant rights groups, ending the harmful program will take a bit longer, according to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“We were very pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision supporting our termination of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program that the previous administration implemented,” Mayorkas said Sunday morning on CBS. Confront the Nation. But until the district court that delayed the administration’s attempt to end the program formally lifts its injunction — which could take several weeks, he said — DHS is obligated to “continue to implement the “Stay in Mexico” program.
As Mother Jones widely reported, since its implementation in early 2019, the MPP has left 70,000 people stranded along the southern border, where many have been subjected to rape, kidnapping and extortion. The administration decided to end the policy on Biden’s first day in office, but legal challenges from Republican-led states have forced the government to keep it in place.
During the CBS interview, Mayorkas delivered a message clearly intended to counter Republican accusations that the administration’s decision would open borders. Migrants are not “simply released in the United States”, he stressed, but are instead placed in removal proceedings and, if denied asylum, promptly deported. Once again, Mayorkas warned would-be migrants not to come to the border, referring to the recent brutal deaths of 53 migrants in San Antonio as a possible result of embarking on the perilous journey. He added that the United States was working closely with Mexico to manage a “regional challenge” and to break up migrant caravans, which have been a rallying point for the right.