Biden Administration Seeks Supreme Court Help on Asylum Policy
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden’s administration filed an emergency request with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to avoid having to reinstate a Trump-era policy that requires asylum seekers at the southern border to wait in Mexico for their cases to be processed.
The filing comes a day after a federal appeals court refused to lift a Saturday reinstatement deadline imposed by a trial judge who said the Department of Homeland Security gave an inadequate explanation when it rescinded the so-called “remain in Mexico” policy June 1.
The administration says the rescission should remain in effect while a legal challenge by Texas and Missouri goes forward. The request was filed with Justice Samuel Alito, who handles emergency matters from Texas, where the case was filed. Alito can either act on his own or refer the matter to the full nine-member Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled Aug. 13 that the Homeland Security Department didn’t follow the required procedures under federal administrative law when it ended the policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols. The policy, established by then-President Donald Trump in 2018, has forced almost 70,000 asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico while their applications are being processed.
Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, gave the administration until Saturday to restart the policy. Three Republican-appointed appellate judges then refused to block that order, saying they agreed with Kacsmaryk’s reasoning.
Texas and Missouri, backed by other Republican-led states, say the remain-in-Mexico policy prevents migrants from filing asylum claims they don’t plan to pursue and then disappearing inside the U.S.
Biden administration lawyers say Southwest border crossings -- currently at historic highs -- began surging while the program was still in place. They contend that many asylum seekers have abandoned legitimate claims because deplorable health and safety conditions make waiting in Mexico too risky.
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