Supreme Court Preserves ‘Remain in Mexico’ Border Defense

Hundreds of demonstrators with a Honduran flag protest in favor of the caravan of migrants who are currently stuck on the Guatemala-Mexico border, in front of the American embassy, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. A U.S.-bound caravan that once totaled more than 3,000 Central American migrants looked to …
AP Photo/Fernando Antonio

The Supreme Court has told the administration that it can keep sending migrants back to Mexico, pending the final decision in a lawsuit against the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

“The application for stay presented to Justice Kagan and by her referred to the Court is granted, and the district court’s April 8, 2019 order granting a preliminary injunction is stayed pending the timely filing and disposition,” said the court’s order.

The order is a defeat for pro-migration advocates who want to reopen the border. But it is not a surprise, in part, because the removal of the program would allow roughly 30,000 Central American migrants to quickly move over the U.S. border, and into U.S. cities, job markets, and housing.

The court’s decision would have also dismantled one of the major legal barriers to the border wall, so inviting another huge wave of blue-collar migrants from Central America, amid public worries about the coronavirus epidemic.

Administration officials welcomed the court’s decision to preserve the program, which is officially named the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP).

The MPP program has returned 65,000 migrants to Mexico, where they stay until they get a court date in the backlogged asylum courts.

The policy minimizes the catch and release of migrants into the United States, where the migrants can hide from enforcement agencies, earn money to pay off their cartel-affiliated coyotes, and then hire coyotes to transport their families into the United States.

The MPP program has been so effective that it has helped to slash cross-border migration from 170,000 in May 2019 down to about 30,000 in January.

The case goes back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for more appeals. It will likely be appealed again to the Supreme Court for judgment in 2021.

Progressives slammed the decision.

“I can’t contain my rage,” said immigration lawyer Patrick Taurel.  “The law in this country boils down to whatever 5 people say it is, and they don’t even have to explain themselves!”

“We will continue to advocate that America should be a haven for those seeking protection,” said a pro-migration group, the American Immigration Council.

“The Supreme Court is making major decisions after major decision in favor of Trump Administration without doing the things that lend its opinions at least [a] patina of fairness,” said another pro-migration lawyer, Sasha Samberg-Champion.  “No full briefing by parties & amici, no open arguments, no written opinions explaining itself.”

Pro-American groups celebrated the temporary win — and noted that the court decision is a benefit for the Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential race.

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