Criminal JusticeFederalImmigration & BorderIssuesFederal Judge in Amarillo Orders Biden Administration to Reinstate ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy

Texas and Missouri both sued the Biden administration in April to prevent the termination of the Migrant Protection Protocols.
August 17, 2021
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In a victory for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, United States District Judge Matthew J. Kaczmaryk in Amarillo ruled on Friday that the Biden administration is required to reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also called the “remain in Mexico” policy, in part on the grounds that the suspension of the protocols is against the federal Administrative Procedures Act (APA).

The Biden administration ended new enrollments in the program in January and announced in February that it would begin readmitting some illegal aliens and others seeking asylum who had been required to stay in Mexico.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas published a memorandum on June 1 detailing the official termination of the policy. Kaczmaryk’s decision blocks the execution of that memo, though he did stay his own decision for one week to give the feds time to appeal.

Paxton and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued the Biden administration in April over the rescission of the policy. The states claimed that in ending MPP, the federal government violated not only the APA, but a border security agreement it made with Texas during the Trump administration.

“ANOTHER VICTORY! We just won our second immigration lawsuit against the Biden Admin! They unlawfully tried to shut down the legal and effective Remain-in-Mexico program, but Texas and Missouri wouldn’t have it,” the Texas attorney general’s office tweeted after the ruling. “Together we sued, and just handed Biden yet another major loss!”

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On social media, the Office of the Missouri Attorney General called Kaczmaryk’s decision a “big win for border security” in a “MAJOR immigration lawsuit against the Biden Administration.”

Under former President Trump, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented MPP in part to deter illegal immigration and prevent the asylum process from being abused by criminals.

According to the June 1 memo, MPP required “certain non-Mexican applicants for admission who arrived on land at the Southwest Border” to go back to Mexico while their immigration cases were pending in American courts.

When MPP was launched, DHS defined it 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.”

Mayorkas said in the June 1 memo that 68,000 people were sent back to Mexico “following their enrollment in MPP.” As of the memo’s publication, the Biden administration had returned 11,200 of those people to the United States.

While most of the border between the United States and Mexico is in Texas, the consequences of illegal immigration affect other states via the trafficking of narcotics and other illegal activity.

Border security is especially relevant now that the Taliban have conquered Afghanistan, in view of the fact that individuals crossing the southern border illegally come from all over the globe.

Governor Greg Abbott has advanced a number of border security measures this year, including declaring a state of disaster in many Texas counties and commencing a state-funded border wall project.

Republican Don Huffines, a former state senator now running for governor, wrote on social media that border security is still the preeminent issue facing Texans.

“It’s obvious [Joe Biden] has failed in Afghanistan, but the number one threat to our national security is still the border,” Huffines tweeted. “It must be secured with a physical barrier and illegals who violate our law and enter our country must be deported. America First.”

Critics of the MPP cite poor conditions where asylum seekers are housed in Mexico and contend that it is inhumane to keep foreign individuals waiting outside the country while their asylum claims are considered.

In its operational update for July, United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported almost 213,000 enforcement encounters with illegal aliens along the southwest land border. However, CBP emphasized that only about 154,000 of these were unique encounters as many people attempt to breach the border multiple times.

A copy of Judge Kaczmaryk’s decision can be found below.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan. He has coached high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.