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SCOTUS Remain In Mexico Ruling Is The Right One, But Larger Issues of How We Address Migration Issues Remain

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Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as “Remain in Mexico.” In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled the Biden administration’s attempt to end that policy was lawful. This disastrous program can end and perhaps more importantly, the lower court judge’s flawed opinion that expulsion or incarceration of asylum seekers is mandatory under U.S. immigration law is struck down.   

The following is a statement from Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:

“We are pleased by today’s ruling, in which the Court holds that the Biden administration’s decision to terminate the Migrant Protection Protocol, also known as the Remain in Mexico policy, did not violate federal law. The court ruled accurately that the lower court judge who claimed that incarceration of asylum seekers or their expulsion were the only two options to federal authorities was struck down.

Yet the very existence of the Remain In Mexico program is a symptom of our nation’s persistent failure to recognize that migration and asylum policies should not begin or end at our southern border.  

As the tragic deaths of more than 50 migrants in San Antonio reminds us in horrific detail this week, we need to build an immigration system and broader regional strategy that ensures people don’t have to walk across Mexico to access legal channels to the United States or rely on human smugglers to pursue a better life. Through new visas, investments in communities from where migrants and refugees move, continued international partnerships, and an orderly approach to border management and processing, we can transform the cruelty and chaos characterized by Remain In Mexico and other failed deterrence-only policies into a smart and orderly strategy. 

The Remain In Mexico policy has a demonstrable body count of people whose lives were taken while being pushed outside the U.S. Like Title 42 (which is still in place), the Trump policy to close ports of entry to asylum seekers, forces people to make a dangerous attempt to enter between ports of entry and quickly expel most of those seeking asylum without a proper hearing, Remain In Mexico is not a fixable policy. Like Remain In Mexico, these other policies that prevent the U.S. from having a safe, legal and orderly immigration system enacted mainly under Trump should be ended.

The way to address large numbers of people seeking safety at our border is not to erect new and more elaborate ways to prevent them from pursuing asylum through the American legal system or to waste billions on a border wall. The remedy is an orderly process of visas, courts and investments in countries from which people are forced to flee to regulate migration intelligently – not continue failed efforts to suppress migration and restrict rights ineffectively.  The recent announcement of the Los Angeles Declaration is a good start and today’s ruling, while a good one, is a reminder why turning that vision into a workable reality is so important.”