Criminal JusticeFederalImmigration & BorderTexas, Missouri Attorneys General Sue Biden Administration to Reimplement ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy

The states allege that the decision to end the Migrant Protection Protocols was “arbitrary and capricious.”
April 13, 2021
As apprehensions of illegal aliens continue to increase, the states of Texas and Missouri filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Biden administration to bring back the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “remain in Mexico” policy.

Republican attorneys general Ken Paxton of Texas and Eric Schmitt of Missouri initiated the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Amarillo.

The defendants in the action include President Biden himself, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Acting Commissioner Troy Miller, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae Johnson, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Tracy Renaud.

“President Biden could immediately remedy the influx of crime pouring across our border by reinstating the Migrant Protection Protocols,” Paxton said in a press statement.

“Dangerous criminals are taking advantage of the lapse in law enforcement and it’s resulting in human trafficking, smuggling, a plethora of violent crimes, and a massive, unprecedented burden on state and federal programs for which taxpayers must foot the bill.”

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In January, the federal government canceled the Migrant Protection Protocols, which required prospective immigrants, including illegal aliens, to remain in Mexico while U.S. immigration judges consider their requests for admission. 

Among other complaints, Paxton and Schmitt allege that the remain in Mexico policy was working, and ending it was “arbitrary and capricious.” They contend in court documents that the Biden administration failed to consider alternative policies and violated an agreement with Texas to consult the state and give advance notice before making certain changes to immigration policy.

Some critics of the remain in Mexico policy, such as Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16), have characterized it as a kind of “out of sight, out of mind” approach to immigration. When it was implemented, the federal government said the policy was necessary to help fight illegal trafficking and victimization.

The White House has been inching away from some of the measures Biden enacted at the beginning of his presidency, such as ceasing progress on the border wall system. DHS is said to be eyeing the possibility of finishing construction on at least parts of the project.

Meanwhile, the administration continues to try to distinguish itself from former President Trump’s policies.

The Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday that the federal government is declining to use space at the Karnes County Family Residential Center to house additional illegal alien family units, even though the Texas facility has more than 80 percent of its 835-person capacity available.

Instead, the administration has run up an $87 million tab on hotel rooms which are supervised by a nonprofit group, Family Endeavors, whose facilities do not have to be licensed because families remain in them for fewer than three days, The Examiner reported.

The Trump administration began using the for-profit Karnes City location last year to hold illegal alien family units before they were repatriated under Title 42, which is designed to protect the U.S. from communicable diseases. Under Biden, the federal government is still returning family units via Title 42, but is not deporting unaccompanied minors.

Enforcement encounters with illegal aliens and unaccompanied children skyrocketed to about 172,000 in March, compared to February’s figure of about 101,000, according to CBP data.

A copy of the lawsuit 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."