Saturday, January 29

A judge of the US Supreme Court stops the re-implementation of the “Stay in Mexico” program | International


Migrants arrive in El Ceibo, Guatemala, after being deported by the US and Mexico.
Migrants arrive in El Ceibo, Guatemala, after being deported by the US and Mexico.JOHAN ORDONEZ / AFP

The judge of the Supreme Court of the United States Samuel Alito has temporarily suspended this Friday night the re-implementation of the Protocol for the Protection of Migrants (MPP). The highest court will review the case next week on the program known as “Stay in Mexico”, which forces US asylum seekers to wait in Mexican border cities. The Republican states of Texas and Missouri want to reinstate the controversial policy imposed in the Donald Trump administration, while Joe Biden’s White House leads a legal battle to prevent it from being implemented again.

A week ago, Texas federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, nominated by Trump, issued an order to reinstate the MPP on Saturday, August 21. The ruling backed the lawsuit from Texas and Missouri, which draws the policy as an incentive for more immigrants to cross the border when the system is collapsed. The Biden Administration appealed the decision in a lower court and requested a delay in re-implementation, but it was rejected. The Democratic government then went to the Supreme Court. Judge Alito, who oversees the judicial circuit that includes Texas, issued the temporary stay and gave the highest court until midnight Wednesday to review the case.

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The “Stay in Mexico” program has been inactive since the pandemic started. Both the Trump and Biden administrations have returned undocumented immigrants under public health orders issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the document that the Democratic Government wrote to the Supreme, it argued that the policy has been inactive for more than a year and that an abrupt re-implementation “would harm the United States’ relations with vital regional partners, severely interrupt its operations on the southern border” and it could create “a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis.”

The Texas and Missouri lawsuit against the Biden Administration alleges that canceling the program will entail financial costs for their taxpayers, since while asylum seekers wait in their territories for their cases to be resolved, they will use state health and educational services. Courts can take years to answer.

President Joe Biden announced the end of “Stay in Mexico” on his first day in the White House and in June issued a statement regarding the “official” closure of the program. Many migrant organizations criticized that asylum seekers were being exposed to precarious and unsafe conditions on the border of Mexico while they waited to resolve their situation.

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