The U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision on Monday to certify its month-old ruling which will now allow President Biden to end a bedrock Trump-era border policy.
Trump’s policy made asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for hearings in a U.S. immigration court.
But there has not been a peep from the Biden administration about when, how, or even if they will end this border policy.
The docket entry on this case simply read “judgment issued” and it recorded that the justices voted 5 to 4 in their ruling which was issued on June 30. Biden’s team was officially able to quash the “Remain in Mexico” policy which overruled a lower court decision that forced the White House administration to reinstate the policy last December.
Alejandro Mayorkas, the Homeland Security Secretary, said after the Supreme Court ruling that justices would need to communicate the decision to the lower court. Then, the order could officially be lifted that kept the policy in place due to a lawsuit that was filed by the state of Texas.
But that is all the Biden administration has said about this decision. No one knows if the thousands affected by the policy who remained in Mexico will be allowed to enter and stay in the United States while their cases are being considered in immigration court.
When asked for a comment, the White House, the Homeland Security Department, and the Justice Department did not respond to the Supreme Court’s certification.
There were at least 70,000 migrants who were stopped by the policy known as “Migrant Protection Protocols,” or MPP.
This covers the time when former President Donald Trump introduced it in January of 2019 until President Joe Biden suspended it on his first day in office in January of 2021.
This fulfilled one of his campaign promises and many were allowed to come into the United States and wait for their cases to come to the courts.
Since last December, when the policy was reinstated due to the lower court ruling, almost 6,000 people have been subject to the policy, according to figures released on Friday.
These low numbers may be why no one from the administration is responding to questions about ending the policy.
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council, which advocates for immigrants, says MPP under Biden has been drastically scaled back, in part because the Mexican government has placed broader restrictions on who its country accepts through MPP, and it should be on track to end.
“Realistically, ending a program which is only being allied to less than 1 percent of the people coming to the border is not going to have any major impact on the number of people coming to the US-Mexico border,” he said.
There is still a sign posted at the entrance to the Salvation Army migrant shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. It was put here by the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration.
“Wait for official information! The Remain in Mexico (MPP) program remains in effect. The United States government will inform you of any changes.”
That captures exactly where we are right now.
Those who have been in opposition to the “Remain in Mexico” policy are becoming more and more outspoken about the White House’s slowness in responding to the Supreme Court’s certification.
“It’s a zombie policy,” said Karen Tumlin, founder of Justice Action Center, an immigration litigation organization.
It all seems to be hinging now on U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo, Texas. He has to make the final move and he is a Trump appointee.