Biden administration officials are reportedly relieved that the conservative-leaning Supreme Court reinstated former President Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy amid an unprecedented two-decade high of migrants coming to the southern US border since President Biden took office.
On his first day in office Biden repealed the controversial Trump immigration rule, which he frequently decried as ‘inhumane.’
The policy forced migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait for their case to be processed in Mexico, which quickly led to overcrowded and squalid conditions on the southern side of the border.
Biden’s administration has taken a more lenient approach to border enforcement than under Trump.
Besides halting construction of the border wall, Biden also oriented the Homeland Security Department to focus less on deterrence and punishment and more on orderly processing of immigrants.
Migrants walk in a caravan bound for the United States, in Tapachula, state of Chiapas, southern Mexico, on September 4. After Biden repealed Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy migrants were allowed to wait inside the US for their cases to be processed, straining state, local and federal infrastructure to unprecedented levels
Agents of the National Migration Institute (INM) detain migrants during an operation to dissolve a caravan of migrants and asylum seekers from Central America and the Caribbean
Migrants part of a caravan take a break en route to the United States. Under a potential revamped Remain in Mexico policy, a small number of asylum-seekers would be forced to wait on the southern side of the border
Biden’s quick rollback of a number of Trump-era immigration policies and scaled-back presence along parts of the border have been blamed for an influx of migrants that has strained Customs and Border Protection and the infrastructure built to contain it.
Now, however, some within Biden’s circle see an opportunity to revamp the Trump policy into something more humane while stemming the flow of migrants into the country, according to the New York Times.
The new proposal has reportedly been dubbed ‘Remain in Mexico lite.’
It would require some migrants to wait in Mexico for their cases to be processed, but also give them access to better living conditions and trained attorneys, people familiar with the talks told Politico.
In a 6-3 decision the Supreme Court ruled last month that the Biden administration likely violated federal law in trying to end the measure, refusing to block a lower court’s ruling that the White House must make a ‘good faith effort’ to restart the program.
The court’s three liberal justices dissented.
Crossings at the southern border have been rising significantly since Biden took office, hitting a 21-year high of 212,672 in July
The Department of Homeland Security said it ‘respectfully disagrees’ with the ruling in a statement and pledged to ‘vigorously challenged it.’
But DHS officials made no move to explain how that would be done.
Now, however, the Biden administration is reportedly in talks with the Mexican government to try and hash out the new policy – which officials hope will balance the court’s decision with the president’s progressive stance.
The report of a possibly revamped version of the Remain in Mexico policy has stirred anger among immigration advocates who expected Biden to stick by his campaign trail promise of permanently revoking it.
‘The answer is not to simply find a gentler, kinder MPP 2.0. That completely flies in the face of his promise,’ National Immigration Law Center executive director Marielena Hincapié told Politico.
A senior counselor at Human Rights First told the outlet that the Biden administration’s ‘constantly changing’ policies have been a source of confusion and frustration for migrants and those trying to help them.
Biden officials worry the massive influx of migrants under his watch is at least in part due to his quick rollback of Trump-era immigration policies in a short span of time
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that the program wasn’t implemented in a ‘moral way,’ adding that it was also ‘inefficient’ while also seemingly excusing the administration’s return to the Trump rule.
‘It led to a backlog in the system. And it is fundamentally a program we have opposed, but we are also abiding by a court order,’ she said.
It comes after CBP released troubling July border data just a few weeks ago.
More than 212,000 migrants were encountered by officials on the southern border that month, the highest number in 21 years.
The number is a 13 percent increase from June. There have been nearly a million reported border encounters between February and July under Biden’s watch.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas admitted there is a crisis at the border and that policies need to change in leaked audio from a private meeting with Texas border agents last month.
‘If our borders are the first line of defense, we’re going to lose, and this is unsustainable,’ he said in audio obtained by Fox News.
‘We can’t continue like this, our people in the field can’t continue and our system isn’t built for it.’
He told the border agents at the leaked meeting ‘these numbers cannot continue.’
‘We cannot get to a point where we were a couple of weeks ago, and we’re gonna make sure that doesn’t happen,’ the DHS head continued, apparently referencing July’s historic numbers.