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Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Ruling To Reinstate Trump’s 'Remain in Mexico' Policy

A migrant boy, an asylum seeker sent back to Mexico from the U.S. under the "Remain in Mexico" program officially named Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), is seen near two members of the Mexican National Guard at a provisional campsite near the Rio Bravo in Matamoros, Mexico February 27, 2020. Picture taken February 27, 2020.
A migrant boy, an asylum seeker sent back to Mexico from the U.S. under the "Remain in Mexico" program officially named Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), is seen near two members of the Mexican National Guard at a provisional campsite near the Rio Bravo in Matamoros, Mexico February 27, 2020. Picture taken February 27, 2020.

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a ruling to reinstate the controversial Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) that required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their day in court.

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a ruling to reinstate the controversial Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) that required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their day in court.

A federal judge on Thursday had ordered the Biden administration to revive MPP after denying an appeal in a lawsuit brought by Texas and Missouri to bring the program back.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the federal government to reinstate the program starting Saturday, but Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. granted an emergency order of stay until Tuesday night so the high court can fully consider the case.

The MPP program, also known as the “Remain in Mexico policy”, forced immigrants who arrived at the border seeking asylum to stay in Mexico while they waited for their day in court.

“We know that MPP is an unlawful interpretation of asylum law,” said Ruby Powers, an immigration attorney and part of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

In January 2021, President Biden stopped the MPP program and started processing people who fell under MPP in February. Texas and Missouri launched a lawsuit against the order claiming it led to an influx of migration to the border.

Texas and Missouri won two legal battles in federal court and then in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the case is now before the Supreme Court.

Powers said this legal battle feels familiar.

“It just seems like we're playing the same game that happened under the Trump administration with back to back litigation,” she said.

Former President Donald Trump originally issued the policy in 2019 to deter immigrants — mostly from Central America — from coming to the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum.

Immigration courts were moved to tents along the Texas-Mexico border and were made difficult to access, which made many doubt whether people were receiving fair trials. Many attorneys and activists felt the new process failed to do so.

After the pandemic peaked in spring 2020, the government stopped processing people all together. Additionally, Title 42 — a policy that quickly expelled people arriving at the border under the guise of public health — grew the number of people stuck on the Mexican side of the border.

The program led to massive encampments along the border — especially after the Trump administration halted immigration proceedings — as people waited in Mexico for their court date. Around 70,000 people fell under MPP.

In addition to having to stay along the border for their immigration proceedings, many have no connections in Mexico and are forced to live on the street or in overcrowded shelters. There are numerous instances of assault and kidnappings among people in the encampments.

The Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which borders much of South Texas, is on the State Department's “Do Not Travel” list alongside countries like Afghanistan and Syria because murder, carjackings, extortion and sexual assault are so common.

“Making people wait at the mercy of the elements outside of the United States while they're waiting for their asylum claim to be adjudicated is just inhumane,” said Powers.

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