Supreme Court lets Biden end Trump remain-in-Mexico asylum rule

Greg Stohr

The U.S. Supreme Court freed President Joe Biden’s administration to end a Trump-era policy that forces asylum-seekers at the southern border to wait in Mexico for their cases to be processed, letting the president retake control of a key facet of his immigration policy.

Voting 5-4, the court said the “remain-in-Mexico” program isn’t required under federal immigration law even though the government lacks capacity to detain everyone. The Biden administration argued that federal officials can release many of the applicants into the country while they await hearings.

The ruling gives Biden a legal victory, restoring the president’s authority over an issue that has traditionally been within White House control. At the same time, the decision will heighten the challenge for Biden as he navigates the politically fraught issue of the border influx. His administration is also waging a court fight to end separate, pandemic-driven Title 42 controls.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s three liberals in the majority.

Biden fulfilled a campaign promise by suspending the remain-in-Mexico policy on the day he took office, but he soon became mired in litigation. The Supreme Court last year forced the administration to restart the program, a step that required negotiation with the Mexican government. The Department of Homeland Security later laid out a fuller explanation for its rescission of the program, putting it on stronger legal footing.

Roberts said in his opinion said DHS’s explanation was sufficient.