President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it will move forward in ending the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” program now that legal hurdles have been removed, even though the program has been hugely successful in preventing asylum fraud among illegal immigrants.
Former President Donald Trump started the program in 2019 to stop “catch and release” policies that allowed illegal immigrants to stay in the country until their asylum hearings, which often take months or years.
Before Remain in Mexico, migrants would often disappear into the U.S. interior, never to show up for their hearings.
But the Supreme Court and a lower court ruled that Biden could end the policy, and DHS Secretary Alexandro Mayorkas signaled that they would move forward to do so.
A successful program
“Individuals are no longer being newly enrolled into [Remain in Mexico], and individuals currently in [Remain in Mexico] in Mexico will be disenrolled when they return for their next scheduled court date,” a DHS news release stated.
Of 45,000 Remain in Mexico cases that have had hearings held, only 740 migrants have been allowed to stay in the country, a rate of 1.6%. Meanwhile, 71% of migrants have been ordered deported, and 23% have terminated their asylum hearings on their own.
Biden’s own officials have warned him that removing Remain in Mexico is likely to cause an even larger flood of illegal immigrants than is already assaulting the U.S. southern border, but he doesn’t seem to care.
One complaint of DHS is that the program is too expensive to continue, but the administration isn’t considering the costs of millions more illegal immigrants in the country indefinitely.
DHS not using policy
The policy “has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border,” DHS said.
DHS has already been tapering the policy and has not used it nearly as much in the last few months in anticipation of being able to end it.
Signaling to potential illegal immigrants had not changed, however, which could end up being more important than how much the program has actually been used.
There is still a risk that border states like Texas could file new lawsuits to force the program to continue, but in the meanwhile, the administration will push to end it before that could happen.