A federal judge in Texas has put on hold on the Biden administration’s most recent attempt to end the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” program.
US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is pausing the termination of the program that was outlined in an October 2021 policy memo while litigation around that memo continues.
The policy forces certain illegal immigrants to return to Mexico as they await court proceedings.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 the Biden administration had the discretion to end the program, rejecting arguments from Republican states that immigration law required the program to remain in effect and granting an initial victory for the Biden immigration agenda.
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“As Secretary Mayorkas has said, MPP has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said at the time.
The Biden administration initially tried to end the policy on the president’s first day in office but was quickly met with lawsuits led by red states.
The decision comes as federal border authorities encounter overwhelming levels of illegal immigration, with a record more than 2.3 million migrants encountered in the fiscal year 2022 and even more expected with the end of another Trump-era expulsion policy, Title 42, expected on Dec. 21.
Earlier this week, a group of more than 1,000 migrants who crossed overnight is said to be one of the largest-ever single migrant crossing events in U.S. history.
U.S. Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector Chief Peter Jaquez said Monday, “Over the weekend, the El Paso Sector experienced a major surge in illegal crossings, with a 3-day average of 2,460 daily encounters, primarily through the downtown area of El Paso. We will continue to keep the public informed as the situation evolves.”
The Border Patrol Central Processing Center in El Paso is currently over capacity, with more than 5,100 in custody as of Monday, the news outlet reported, with a capacity of 3,500.
The Biden administration will appeal a federal judge’s decision to end Title 42, a policy invoked under the Trump administration, to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to a court document published Wednesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously tried to scrap the policy on May 23, but the Biden administration was forced to keep it in place after several Republican states sued. The Biden administration is now fighting in a separate case in which its argued for the policy to remain.
“The government respectfully disagrees with this Court’s decision and would argue on appeal, as it has argued in this Court, that CDC’s Title 42 Orders were lawful,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in the Wednesday filing to U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan.
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The request to appeal asked Sullivan to allow for the other cases to be adjudicated, suspending his order to end Title 42 in the interim.
Sullivan ruled on Nov. 15 that the Biden administration cannot use Title 42 to expel illegal migrants and subsequently granted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a five-week pause “with great reluctance” to prepare for an influx at the border.
The Biden administration was then given until Dec. 21 to prepare for the policy to end, which many have predicted could lead to chaos at the southern border on top of already record numbers of illegal migrants. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered more than 2.3 million migrants at the southern border in fiscal year 2022 and another more than 230,000 in October.