The Supreme Court to hear arguments about the Trump-era ‘Stay in Mexico’ policy

Immigrant activist demonstrated in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on April 26, 2022.

Stefani Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about the Biden administration’s latest attempt to end an Trump-era immigration policy that has been upheld by several courts but rejected by human rights groups.

The “Stay in Mexico” policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols or MPP, required that some asylum seekers arriving at the southern border of the United States be sent back to Mexico while their immigration procedures unfolded.

The program went into effect in 2019 under the administration of then-President Donald Trump. By the end of Trump’s term, the policy was used to send nearly 70,000 people back to Mexico. Groups like Human Rights Watch say the policy violates migrants’ rights and exposes them to a wide range of dangers and abuses.

President Joe Biden suspended the program on his first day in office and tried to end it completely last year. But the administration’s efforts were challenged by attorneys general in Texas and Missouri, and a federal judge in Texas ordered that the policy be reinstated.

A federal appeals court, and then the Supreme Court, rejected the administration’s efforts to overturn the Texas court’s ruling last August.

In October, Interior Minister Alejandro Mayorkas issued a memorandum repealing the policy of staying in Mexico again. In December, the administration restarted it in line with the court order, although the White House lamented that “it is not our preference to re-implement” the policy.

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