March 3, 2024

SCOTUS Rejects Biden Plea to Halt Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) denied a plea from President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) to halt the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program while a lawsuit brought by Texas and Missouri makes its way through the courts.

On Tuesday evening, in a 6-3 decision, SCOTUS issued an order denying DOJ’s request for the Court to issue a stay that would block the re-implementation of MPP, commonly known as “Remain in Mexico,” while the case plays out in the courts — a process that could take more than a year.

Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, voted to deny the request, while Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan voted to grant the request.

“The application for a stay presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied,” SCOTUS wrote in the order:

The applicants have failed to show a likelihood of success on the claim that the memorandum rescinding the Migrant Protection Protocols was not arbitrary and capricious. Our order denying the Government’s request for a stay of the District Court injunction should not be read as affecting the construction of that injunction by the Court of Appeals. [Emphasis added]

After DOJ made the request, Alito issued a four-day “administrative stay” giving Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt time to submit a brief arguing why Remain in Mexico should be reinstated while the case is ongoing.

The administrative stay also gave justices the chance to review the filings and take a vote.

In April, after the Biden administration announced it would end Remain in Mexico, Paxton and Schmitt filed a lawsuit arguing that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had unlawfully made the decision.

Weeks ago, Trump-appointed Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk in Texas ordered the Biden administration to reinstate Remain in Mexico, months after Biden’s DHS started releasing thousands of MPP migrants into the U.S. interior.

Last week, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit appeals court denied Biden’s request to freeze the lower court’s order and halt reinstatement of Remain in Mexico. As a result, Remain in Mexico was supposed to be reinstated by Saturday.

The case is Biden v. Texas, No. 21A21 in the Supreme Court of the United States.

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