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DHS Announces Termination of 'Remain in Mexico' Policy

The CDC's Title 42 will still be enforced

The so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy will be terminated after a legal battle spanning most of Joe Biden’s presidency.

The migration policy, enacted under President Trump, required asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while their applications were processed.

Federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas recently dissolved his previous order which required the federal government to restart the program, which is formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols

The Department of Homeland Security announced on Aug. 8 that it “welcomed” Kacsmaryk’s recent action to lift the injunction. 

DHS is committed to ending the court-ordered implementation of MPP in a quick, and orderly, manner,” the agency said in a statement. “As Secretary Mayorkas has said, MPP has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border.”

Effective immediately, there will be no new enrollment in MPP. Any migrants currently enrolled in the program will be disenrolled during their next court appearance. 

Biden had initially terminated the policy in January of 2021 on his first day in office. 

Kacsmaryk found on Aug. 13, 2021 that the Biden Administration had not provided a sufficient rationale to justify repealing the policy. His decision was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The policy was subsequently reinstated in December of 2021. 

More than 2 million migrants illegally crossed the Southern border in 2021, according to data from the Customs and Border Protection. The total surpassed illegal migration rates from the two previous years by over 565,000.

In July, the Supreme Court ruled the federal government had the right to end the immigration policy following a 5-4 vote. The majority, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, said the policy did not violate immigration laws as attorneys for Texas and Missouri had argued, per El Paso Matters.  

The Supreme Court’s decision became legally binding on Aug. 1. 

Individuals encountered at the Southwest Border who cannot establish a legal basis to remain in the United States will be removed or expelled,” per the DHS. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 will still be enforced. The health order, which was also enacted during the Trump administration, allows illegal immigrants to be deported to Mexico after apprehension to prevent the spread of COVID-19, even if the migrants are attempting to claim asylum.

Human rights groups have denounced Title 42 as a blanket deportation policy that deprives people the right to apply for asylum under U.S. and international law,” reports CNBC. “The overwhelming majority of the deportations have occurred during the Biden administration.”

Customs and Border Patrol reported that between the MPP’s reinstatement on Dec. 6, 2021 and the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 30, 2022, less than 10,000 people were enrolled in the program. Just over 5,760 were returned to Mexico.

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