Remain in Mexico Policy Upheld
By Heather Ham-Warren | May 10, 2019
At the end of 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new asylum policy aimed at confronting the growing illegal immigration crisis in the United States. The change—frequently referred to as the “Remain in Mexico” policy— invokes Section 235(b)(2)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Under the MPP, individuals arriving in or entering the United States from foreign contiguous territories (i.e. Mexico)—illegally or without proper documentation—may be returned to said country for the duration of their immigration proceedings.
Immediately following the announcement, open-border groups sued the Trump administration for violating U.S. law by failing to adequately evaluate the dangers that migrants may face in Mexico while awaiting adjudication. On April 8, U.S. District Jude Richard Seeborg (based in San Francisco, California) ruled against the government halting the policy while the lawsuits proceeded. However, late Tuesday the Nine Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s decision and granted the administration’s’ request to send asylum seekers back to Mexico while they wait for their claims to proceed.
FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), has been involved in the case since before the district court and was, in fact, the only group to submit a brief supporting the government.
“This is definitely a victory for the administration,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “What it means is that the administration can go on returning asylum applicants who are flooding our border to Mexico, and doesn’t have to go back to catching and releasing them into the U.S., where most would just disappear, never showing up for any hearings. And if the government prevails on the merits, which the Court yesterday said was likely, the policy will continue long-term,”
Wilcox added. “That should have a strong deterrent effect on bogus asylum claims. The last thing those making them want is to wait in Mexico for years, only to lose their eventual asylum hearing and be sent back home. Unclogging the system of these bogus claims will give a chance to those truly eligible for asylum – victims of tyranny abroad.”
To read more on FAIR coverage of the current border crisis, please click here.