By John Friend
On Wednesday, March 11, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s policy of forcing non-Mexican asylum seekers to remain in Mexico as their cases are adjudicated can continue after numerous legal challenges to the seemingly commonsense policy.
The “Remain in Mexico” policy, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), is designed to curtail entry into the U.S. by non-Mexican migrants who have and continue to make their way from Central and South America—as well as other parts of the Third World—to America’s border with Mexico seeking asylum. Immigration enforcement agencies, officers, and officials have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of asylum seekers in recent years, prompting the Trump administration to enact the controversial policy roughly one year ago with the assistance of the government of Mexico.
According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), over 60,000 asylum seekers have been barred entry into the U.S. since the program was first implemented. Prior to the Remain in Mexico policy being implemented, asylum seekers were often freely released into the U.S. interior while their asylum claims were processed, and many simply failed to appear for later court hearings.
Additionally, U.S. immigration enforcement officials have seen large numbers of fraudulent asylum claims in recent years, as desperate migrants would often falsify documents, enter fraudulent family claims, and otherwise attempt to deceive immigration officials about their asylum claims in order to be granted legal permission to reside and work in the U.S.
The Remain in Mexico policy has allowed the U.S. government to “process tens of thousands of aliens applying for asylum . . . without the need to detain the applicants in the United States during the weeks and months it takes to process their applications,” a court filing prepared by DHS and submitted to the Supreme Court stated in part.
MPP has been challenged by a number of border states, including California and Arizona, as well as by legal groups such as the ACLU, which has long opposed the policy. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the policy last month, prompting the Trump administration to appeal to the Supreme Court while legal challenges play out. The recent ruling by the Supreme Court stands out as a significant legal victory for the Trump administration, which has been stymied by activist judges, radical open-borders legal-aid groups, and left-wing immigrant rights organizations seeking to undermine President Trump’s America-first immigration agenda.
“Today’s order from the Supreme Court is a major victory for the Trump administration,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement following the announcement of the Supreme Court ruling. “By allowing the Migrant Protection Protocols to remain in effect, the Court has prevented dangerous chaos at the southern border, avoided a significant escalation in public health threats, and mitigated damage to foreign relations.”
Immigration hawks have pointed to the MPP as the single most important policy the Trump administration has implemented to slow the endless flow of immigration into the U.S. since the president took office. Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in court papers submitted to the Supreme Court that the 9th Circuit ruling had created even more “chaos” at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Large groups of migrants in Mexico began arriving at multiple ports of entry along the southwest border seeking immediate entry into the country,” Francisco argued. Had the Supreme Court not ruled in the Trump administration’s favor, immigration enforcement agencies and officials would have been overwhelmed once again at the border.
“Tens of thousands of migrants are likely to resume attempting to enter the United States and seeking asylum (or other relief from removal), often without merit, forcing DHS to undertake the overwhelming burden of detaining many of those aliens in the United States throughout removal proceedings (or else releasing them on parole into the interior, where many will simply disappear),” Francisco insisted to the court, offering a grim yet realistic picture of the situation facing DHS and other immigration agencies had the policy been discontinued.
Chalk up a victory for the Trump administration, at least temporarily, with this recent Supreme Court ruling. As legal challenges to the MPP continue, let us hope common sense and sanity prevail.
John Friend is a freelance writer based in California.