The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it had ended a Trump-era policy requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for US immigration court hearings, hours later. that a judge lifted an order, in effect since December, that the so-called Stay in Mexico rule be reinstated.
The timing was uncertain since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 30 that the Biden administration could end the policy.
Homeland Security officials had remained largely silent, saying they should wait for the court to certify the ruling and for a Trump-appointed judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, in Amarillo, Texas, to then lift his injunction.
The Supreme Court certified its decision last week and critics of the policy had been increasingly vocal over the Biden administration’s reluctance to stay in Mexico, calling for an immediate end to it.
“It’s zombie politics,” said Karen Tumlin, founder of the Justice Action Center, an immigration litigation organization.
The program will now proceed in a “swift and orderly” manner, DHS said in a statement. No one is registered anymore and those who appear in court will not be sent back to Mexico when they appear in the United States for their next hearings.
The policy “has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and diverts resources and personnel from other priority efforts to secure our border,” the department said.
Many questions remain, including whether those whose claims have been denied or dismissed will get a second chance or whether those whose next court dates are months away will be allowed to return to the United States sooner, where many courts of immigration are struggling with backlogs and staffing shortages. . DHS said it would provide additional information “in the coming days.”
About 70,000 migrants have been subject to the policy, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, from the time Donald Trump introduced her as president in January 2019 until Joe Biden suspended her on first day in office in January 2021, fulfilling a campaign promise.
Many were allowed to return to the United States to pursue their businesses during the first months of Biden’s presidency, often from squalid, dangerous and ad hoc camps or tight shelters in towns a short distance from the border with Mexico.
Then it was reinstated and migrants fleeing to the United States were again stopped at the border and forced to stay outside the United States.
This, combined with a policy of routine border deportations under a heavily criticized pandemic rule ostensibly to curb COVID-19, known as Title 42, has resulted in thousands of people making unrestricted crossings. authorized, often repeatedly, and with deadly results for some – succumbing to botched smuggling businesses, the swirling waters of the Rio Grande in Texas or the desert there and further west.
Nearly 5,800 people were subjected to the policy from December to June, a relatively modest number. Nicaraguans make up the largest number, with others from Cuba, Colombia and Venezuela.
Trump made the policy a centerpiece of border enforcement, which critics say was inhumane for exposing migrants to extreme violence in Mexico and making access to lawyers far more difficult.