High court could free Biden to end Trump asylum policy – Press Telegram


WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned lower court orders preventing the Biden administration from ending a controversial Trump-era immigration program for asylum seekers.

Questions from Conservative and Liberal judges during nearly two hours of discussions suggested the court could release the administration to end the “Stay in Mexico” policy that forces some asylum seekers in the United States to wait in Mexico for their audiences.

President Joe Biden suspended the program on his first day in office. After Texas and Missouri sued, lower courts required immigration officials to reinstate him, although the current administration has sent far fewer people back to Mexico than its predecessor.

The heart of the legal struggle is whether, with far less detention capacity than necessary, immigration authorities should send people to Mexico or have the discretion of federal law to release asylum seekers to the United States while they await their hearings.

Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar, Biden’s top lawyer for the Supreme Court, told judges the law does not contain a provision requiring migrants to be returned to Mexico and that there is a “significant public benefit” to releasing migrants with criminal records and other controls for the country. US, keeping detention beds free for more dangerous people.

Judges Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, at least one of whom the administration needs to win the case, suggested the administration had a better argument than the states.

“He loses, right, if the government is right about what the important public interest is,” Barrett said in an exchange with Texas Attorney General Judd Stone II.

Several judges also picked up Prelogar’s point that no administration, including Trump’s, has fully complied with the requirement to make migrants wait in Mexico.

If states are reading the law correctly, Judge Clarence Thomas asked, “Wouldn’t it be weird for Congress to put in place a statute that’s impossible to enforce?”

Judge Elena Kagan was among the members of the tribunal who wondered if the lower courts were inadvertently immersing themselves in international relations as the resumption of the program depends on Mexico’s willingness to accept migrants and close coordination between countries.

“What are we supposed to do, take trucks loaded with people to Mexico and leave them in Mexico?” Kagan asked Stone.

Judge Samuel Alito appeared to be the strongest voice on the state side, and questioned the administration’s claim that it evaluates migrants on a case-by-case basis before releasing them.

Border guards arrested migrants 221,000 times in March 2022 and nearly 66,000 migrants were released in the United States, according to a government court record.

Alito said the situation looked like people hoping to get into a Washington Nationals game. If they have a ticket and no alcohol or weapons, they are admitted, Alito said.

“That’s basically what you’re doing. You have a little checklist and it goes, bum, bum, bum,” Alito said.

Some 70,000 people were enrolled in the program, formally known as Migrant Protection Protocols, after President Donald Trump launched it in 2019 and made it a centerpiece of efforts to deter asylum seekers.

Following the suspension of the program by Biden, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas ended in June 2021. In October, DHS filed additional justifications for the disappearance of the policy, unsuccessfully in court.

The program resumed in December, but only 3,000 migrants enrolled in late March, during a period in which authorities detained migrants some 700,000 times at the border.

The high court considered what to do with the limited nature of the contested program. Chief Justice John Roberts said he sympathized with the administration’s position that it could not detain everyone or possibly comply with the law. “But where does that leave us?” he asked.

Those forced to wait in Mexico say widely that they are terrified of dangerous Mexican border cities and find it very difficult to find lawyers to handle their asylum hearings.

Democratic-led states and progressive groups are on the side of the administration. Republican-led states and conservative groups sided with Texas and Missouri. These include the America First Legal Foundation, run by former Trump aides Stephen Miller and Mark Meadows.

While the court is weighing the asylum policy, the administration is expected to end another key Trump-era border policy that was put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. It allows authorities to deport migrants without the possibility of seeking asylum. The decision to end the authority of Title 42, so named by a public health law of 1944, on May 23 is being legally challenged by 22 states and faces growing divisions within the Biden Democratic Party.

A decision is expected in Biden v. Texas, 21-954, by the end of June.

High court could free Biden to end Trump asylum policy – Press Telegram Source link High court could free Biden to end Trump asylum policy – Press Telegram

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