Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says he is pleased the Supreme Court issued a ruling allowing the agency to discontinue the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy. Mayorkas says the Migrant Protection Protocols requiring migrants to remain in Mexico as their asylum claims are processed has “endemic flaws, and it has unjustifiable human costs.”
Mayorkas made the remarks celebrating the end of the policy on CBS Face the Nation early Sunday saying, “We were very pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision supporting our termination of the ‘remain in Mexico’ program that the prior administration implemented. I have said from the beginning, that it has endemic flaws, and it has unjustifiable human costs.”
More than 70,000 migrants were returned to Mexico during the Trump administration and forced to await the processing of asylum claims outside the United States. On June 30, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Biden administration, allowing DHS to end the program.
As reported by Breitbart Texas, following an initial stopping of the program in January 2020, DHS began allowing more than 25,000 migrants previously forced to wait in Mexico to re-enter the United States. Mayorkas worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to register and return the migrants to the United States through an online program administered by several United Nations agencies.
In August 2021, a Texas federal district court ordered the Department of Homeland Security to reinstate the program based on a lawsuit asserting the discontinuance would result in harm as the result of more migrants being released within the state. The Biden administration formally reinstated the program in December 2021, although on a much smaller scale than pursued during the Trump administration.
Mayorkas’ celebration over the favorable Supreme Court Ruling allowing the department to completely end the program signals the end of nearly all the deterrent-based immigration policies put in place under the Trump administration. The CDC’s Title 42 COVID-19 emergency expulsion order is the only Trump-era policy relating to illegal border crossings left in place.
President Biden previously attempted to end the CDC Title 42 emergency expulsions in May but was met with a similar court-issued stay from a Louisiana Federal District Court within weeks. The ruling forced DHS to continue expulsions under the CDC’s Title 42 authority.
Although the authority for COVID-19 expulsions is still in effect, several categories of migrants have been excluded from removal under the program — namely unaccompanied migrant children and some migrant family units with tender age children. According to a source within Customs and Border Protection, the application of the authority has been watered down to the extent that a mere 30% of migrants arrested along the southwest border are subjected to expulsion on many days.
As far as the administration’s strategy for dealing with the record-breaking influx of migrants across the southwest border and the formation of new migrant caravans, Mayorkas says the department will continue to focus on efforts by “partners to the south.”
Mayorkas told Face the Nation, “We are working very closely with our partners to the south, with Mexico, that breaks up very often these caravans of individuals that seek to take that dangerous journey to reach our border, only to be met with the enforcement of our laws.”
Those efforts do not seem to be impacting the number of migrant crossings into the United States as Mexico, rather than deterring the migrants from traveling through the country, is now quickly disbanding the caravans not by arresting and removing them but by issuing travel permits expediting their trip to the north. As reported by Breitbart’s Cartel Chronicles, Mexico provided 3,000 such permits to the most recent migrant caravan traveling to the United States facilitating their arrival and illegal entry into the United States.
Mayorkas’ last pilar in the administration’s border enforcement strategy seems to be the repeated verbal warning to migrants against making the journey to the United States.
Speaking to Face the Nation about the migrant smuggling tragedy that ended when 53 migrants died in an enclosed tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Mayorkas said, “We have said repeatedly, and we continue to warn people not to take the dangerous journey. We saw so tragically in San Antonio, Texas, one of the possible tragic results of that dangerous journey and so many people don’t even make it that far in the hands of exploitative smugglers.”
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.