The case — filed by Attorneys General Ken Paxton of Texas and Eric Schmitt of Missouri — has been to the U.S. Supreme Court multiple times. In August 2021, the justices effectively ordered the federal government to reinstate the policy on procedural grounds. However, this summer, the court allowed the Biden administration to proceed with its termination.
The Supreme Court left the door open for U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk to decide that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to end the program, also known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, could have been a breach of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
Kacsmaryk issued a 35-page opinion indicating that the way the DHS ended the program was likely invalid under the APA. However, the case has not reached its final resolution.
In February 2021, the administration began readmitting people into the country who had previously been required to stay in Mexico.
Gov. Greg Abbott lauded Kacsmaryk’s decision in a tweet on Thursday night.
“Texas court compels Biden to continue enforcing the remain in Mexico policy,” Abbott wrote. “It’s a common sense policy to prevent people from entering our country illegally. Texas wins again, for now.”
In a statement from his office, Paxton also celebrated Kacsmaryk’s decision.
“Unfortunately, that’s a result of the Biden Administration’s unwavering determination to get as many illegal aliens into this country as possible. A key part of their open-borders agenda has been ending the Remain-in-Mexico program,” Paxton said.
“But the law is not on their side. The court made the right decision here in protecting Remain-in-Mexico, and I look forward to fighting to make sure the program is secured indefinitely.”
The Migrant Protection Protocols required illegal immigrants and others seeking asylum or entry into the U.S. to wait in Mexico while their cases were considered by American authorities.
The definition provided by the DHS at the time of its implementation called it “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.”
About 70,000 people were reportedly required to wait on the other side of the border under the policy. Critics of the program say those subjected to the policy were not provided with humane conditions.
Kacsmaryk’s decision precedes the scheduled end of Title 42 expulsions on December 21, which could be followed by a surge of illegal immigration. The City of El Paso is already being overwhelmed by thousands of illegal aliens crossing on a daily basis, and Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16) is urging the federal government to provide more financial support for the city.
A copy of Judge Kacsmaryk’s decision can be found below.
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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."