Among President Joe Biden’s first items of business upon entering office involved an attempt to suspend the Trump-era border policy known as the Migrant Protection Protocols.
Although a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling determined that the administration had to reinstate the policy, new reports show that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is making another attempt to get rid of it.
“An international barrier between migrants and their counsel”
Commonly known as the Remain in Mexico policy, the controversial rule was implemented by then-President Donald Trump in January 2019 and forced migrants to wait south of the border while their asylum cases were being considered.
For his part, Biden attempted to cancel the policy shortly after his inauguration, but states including Missouri and Texas fought back.
The resulting legal battle escalated to the nation’s highest court, which determined that it must be reinstated. Now, Mayorkas appears to be redoubling the administration’s efforts.
In a 39-page report he sent to the judge who ruled that the MPP must be restored, he argued: “The fundamental problems with [the MPP program] … is that it puts an international barrier between migrants and their counsel and relevant immigration court where their proceedings are pending and it places their security and safety in the hands of a sovereign nation.”
As a result, he concluded that it is his “judgment that the benefits of MPP are far outweighed by the costs of the program, in whatever form.”
“Congress left it to the agency to define them”
Mayorkas further asserted that the program itself is optional, basing his claim on the parole power vested within his agency.
“Notably, the [legal] statute does not set any limit on the number of individuals DHS can decide to release on parole,” he wrote.
In fact, the secretary insisted that “Congress simply required that parole decisions be made on a case-by-case basis and that they be based on ‘urgent humanitarian reasons’ or ‘significant public benefit.’ As the statute does not define those ambiguous terms, Congress left it to the agency to define them.”
Elsewhere in his report, Mayorkas provided a proposed alternative program that would fast-track asylum cases and facilitate a more rapid release of approved migrants into America.
Critics of the Biden administration’s position continue to assert that it might be better for undocumented immigrants — but not for American citizens.