The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that allows President Joe Biden to shut down a Trump administration program designed to restrict immigration at the southern border by forcing asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico as their cases make their way through U.S. immigration courts.
Texas and Missouri had brought the case before the court, arguing that the Biden administration violated the law by rescinding the program. The court said in a 5-4 ruling that the Biden administration acted properly in seeking to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols. Ultimately, they found that the MPP did not violate a section of immigration law that Texas and Missouri had used to argue that the Biden administration illegally ended the program.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the three more liberal justices – Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer – in the majority. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts said a lower court overreached when it found the policy had to remain in place.
Under “the court of appeals’ interpretation,” he wrote, a judge could “force the executive to the bargaining table with Mexico, over a policy that both countries wish to terminate, and to supervise its continuing negotiations with Mexico to ensure that they are conducted ‘in good faith.'”
It’s unclear if the Biden administration will try to end the program immediately or wait for the lower court to rule. The case now returns to the district court to determine if terminating the policy violated any administrative laws.
The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Thursday evening that it welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision that it “has the discretionary authority to terminate the program, and we will continue our efforts to terminate the program as soon as legally permissible.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, however, who filed suit to block the policy from being lifted, called the ruling “an unfortunate one,” and claimed it “makes the border crisis worse.”