FederalImmigration & BorderIssuesBiden Admin to Reinstate ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy After U.S. Supreme Court Ruled in Texas’ Favor

A federal judge in Amarillo ordered the restoration of the Migrant Protection Protocols, a decision that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld.
December 3, 2021
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the remain in Mexico policy, will be reimplemented on Monday, December 6, following an agreement with the Mexican government.

In August, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a decision by federal Judge Matthew J. Kaczmaryk of Amarillo that the program, which was launched by the Trump administration in January 2019, was unlawfully terminated and must be reinstated.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, filed a lawsuit in April against the Biden administration calling for the reinstatement of the policy. Kaczmaryk ruled that DHS violated the Administrative Procedures Act by ending the policy, which occurred via a memorandum by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on June 1 of this year.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton reacted to the deal on Thursday evening.

“The restoration of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program is a huge win for Texas!” Paxton remarked in a statement published on social media.

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“This is one of the many lawsuits I have filed against the Biden Administration. I will continue to fight to restore safety and order along our southern border, making sure that this essential program is implemented in full compliance with the court’s order.”

The Trump administration defined the policy as “a U.S. Government action whereby certain foreign individuals entering or seeking admission to the U.S. from Mexico – illegally or without proper documentation – may be returned to Mexico and wait outside of the U.S. for the duration of their immigration proceedings, where Mexico will provide them with all appropriate humanitarian protections for the duration of their stay.”

Before the announcement, the future of the policy had been uncertain both as the Mexican government resisted its reintroduction and DHS continued to actively fight it by authoring new documents, including a new termination memo on October 29, hoping to satisfy the concerns Kaczmaryk raised in his ruling.

In fact, the DHS memo detailing the reinstatement of MPP expressed that the federal government would end the remain in Mexico policy “as soon as practicable in the event of a final judicial decision to vacate the district court injunction.”

Last week, the Mexican government stated in a press release that it was seeking certain reassurances before it would agree to restoring the program.

“Mexico has communicated to the United States that migrants must have access to medical care and COVID-19 vaccinations to protect their right to health and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the communities on both sides of the border,” the Mexican government stated.

“In addition, Mexico has highlighted the importance of respecting the vulnerability criteria for groups of people such as unaccompanied minors, pregnant women, those with physical or mental illnesses, the elderly, the LGBT+ community and monolingual indigenous individuals, and others.”

The Biden administration has been criticized by former U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan for allowing Mexico to define the terms of reintroducing the MPP.

DHS contended that Mexico, as a sovereign nation, needed to make an “independent decision” to agree to accept individuals enrolled in MPP.

The memorandum describing the policy’s reimplementation indicates that at least two Immigration Hearing Facilities (IHFs) will be created in Laredo and Brownsville specifically for giving MPP enrollees their day in court. Cases will also be heard at the El Paso Immigration Court and another location in San Diego.

In a press statement on Thursday, Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX-11) expressed that he was pleased the policy would be reinstated, but disappointed it has taken so long.

“Nearly a year into his presidency, President Joe Biden has finally been forced to uphold the law and reinstate President Trump’s successful Remain-in-Mexico policy,” Pfluger said. 

“I fear this is too little too late, as his actions to intentionally weaken our border have already triggered a record-breaking border crisis with literally millions of illegal migrants flooding across our border. Better late than never, and hopefully here for good.”

In Texas border patrol sectors, there were 1.15 million apprehensions of illegal aliens, including unaccompanied children, during Fiscal Year 2021.

A copy of the DHS memo reinstating the Migrant Protection Protocols can be found below.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."