Republicans Must Codify ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy After Retaking Congress

AP Photo/Fernando Llano

Well, we can’t win them all, can we? The Supreme Court has been handing down rulings left and right that favor conservatives. It overturned Roe v. Wade and did away with the onerous gun licensing schemes imposed by states like New York, California, Maryland, and others. But its ruling on the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, was not exactly the outcome for which Republicans were hoping.

But all hope is not lost.

The court’s ruling allows President Joe Biden to put an end to MPP, a Trump-era policy requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their cases are adjudicated. The program was designed to end the “Catch and Release” approach favored by Democratic and Republican administrations alike. Prior to the “Remain in Mexico” policy, migrants would be allowed into the country while they awaited their court dates. Many did not bother to show up and instead remained in the U.S. illegally.

The court, on Thursday, decided that the White House could end the policy but returned the case to a lower court to ascertain whether Biden ended the program in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). This legislation governs the procedure used by the executive branch to create and rescind various programs and regulations. The president must follow the process outlined in the legislation to implement or end any rules, regulations, or policies.

The lower court will also be tasked with determining whether the White House is adhering to federal immigration law by releasing tens of thousands of migrants and illegal immigrants into the U.S. instead of detaining them. Over one million migrants have been released into the interior of the country after crossing the border legally and illegally.

The Supreme Court’s decision has prompted many to call on Republicans to codify MPP into law if they retake both chambers of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections and the White House in 2024.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) criticized the ruling and noted that it “highlights the need for Congressional action” to enshrine the policy into law. “Courts cannot be relied on to reign [sic] in the Biden administration’s relentless flouting of immigration laws,” FAIR officials argued. “Congress must step forward with needed reforms to stop this historic border crisis.”

Former Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Thomas Homan also took issue with the court’s ruling, calling it “a defeat for border security, for the rule of law, and for common sense.” He continued, highlighting the severity of the situation at the border.

“Policies like Remain in Mexico and Title 42 are the last seawalls holding back a crushing tidal wave,” he said. “The Supreme Court’s ruling tosses aside that carefully considered legal analysis.”

Homan also called on Congress to make the MPP permanent through legislation. “The Supreme Court was wrong to let the Biden administration off the hook for its reckless actions,” he insisted. “Now, it’s up to Congress to do its part to secure our borders, fix the Biden border crisis, and reduce illegal immigration. If they don’t, we are looking at several more years of open borders under Joe Biden.”

The situation at the southern border has grown increasingly worse as the Biden administration refuses to take any substantive action to deal with the problem it caused by reversing most of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, essentially inviting scores of migrants to swarm the border. Even worse is the fact that only a small percentage of those attempting to gain entry into the United States actually have legitimate asylum claims. The data shows that of the 45,000 MPP cases that were considered since 2019, fewer than 740 migrants were deemed to have valid claims to stay in the U.S. This is less than 1.6 percent of all migrants who have applied for asylum.

A new Rasmussen poll suggests this decision could come back to haunt Democrats in the upcoming congressional and presidential elections. From the report:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 52% of Likely U.S. voters believe the problem of illegal immigration is getting worse. Just 11% think the problem is getting better, while 32% say illegal immigration is staying about the same. Those findings have changed slightly since April, when 55% said the problem of illegal immigration was getting worse.

Overall, 73 percent say the issue of immigration will be an “important” subject heading into the midterm elections, and of those, 42 percent say it is “very important.” There is a consensus across the board, as most Democrats (69 percent), independents (65 percent), and Republicans (85 percent), also identify immigration as at least a “somewhat important” issue in the midterms.

If and when Republicans retake control of the legislature in November, the migrant crisis must be one of their top priorities. President Biden has shown he is unwilling to take action to stem the flow of migrants into the country. Congress must do its part to compel the White House to implement real solutions to the problem. Of course, this would not guarantee that this administration will take the issue seriously – but it can apply more pressure. Furthermore, if Republicans retake the White House in 2024, they can enact permanent policies to address the issue. Hopefully, this administration won’t be able to exacerbate the problem too much between now and then.


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