Supreme Court Gives Biden Green Light to End ‘Remain in Mexico’ Immigration Policy

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Of all the radical and dystopian decisions the U.S. Supreme Court has made in recent days, one has been relatively positive. The Supreme Court on Thursday gave President Joe Biden the green light to end the “Remain in Mexico” immigration policy.

This Trump-era policy forced certain non-Mexican nationals who entered the United States to be returned to Mexico while awaiting their immigration proceedings.

Since the beginning of his administration, Biden has sought to end the program. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court finally handed the administration a victory.

The decision states that immigration law gives the federal government the discretion to end the program, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols. The case will return to the lower courts for further proceedings surrounding his latest attempt to end the program. Biden’s order to end the program remains in place, but Thursday’s ruling suggests that the order should be lifted shortly, CNN explained.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the relevant immigration statute “plainly confers a discretionary authority to return aliens to Mexico during the pendency of their immigration proceedings.”

“The use of the word ‘may’ in” the law question, Roberts wrote, “makes clear that contiguous-territory return is a tool that the (DHS) Secretary ‘has the authority, but not the duty,’ to use.”

Chief Justice Roberts added that mandatory removal would require ordering the president to negotiate with Mexico. Justices should not lightly interfere in the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, he wrote, in a decision welcomed by human rights lawyers, the New York Times explained.

“For a court to insert itself in the diplomatic relationship between the United States and a foreign nation was clearly something the Supreme Court was rightfully uncomfortable with,” said Robyn Barnard, a lawyer at Human Rights First.

As the Times continued, while the decision itself represents a victory, in the end, it will have little practical impact on the number of people allowed to remain in the country to seek asylum because the administration has been sending too few to await their cases in Mexico.

An emergency public health rule that has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic has had a much greater effect, preventing many asylum seekers from staying in the United States to seek protection.