This week, a judge in a United States District Court delayed an effort by former Vice President Joe Biden to terminate a program called “Remain in Mexico” that had been implemented during the Trump administration. The litigation had previously been transferred between several different courts.
“This action has gone from this Court to the Fifth Circuit, to the Supreme Court, and back to this Court on remand,” U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk wrote in his decision. “This action has a complex procedural history, having gone from this Court to the Fifth Circuit, to the Supreme Court, and back to this Court on remand.” “Or ‘there and back again.’ See J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, or There and Back Again (1937).” “Or ‘there and back again.'”
A memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, which was released on June 1, 2022, was the subject of the decision made by the Supreme Court about six months after the decision was handed down. In the memo that he sent out, Mayorkas announced the termination of the Migration Protection Protocols program, which is more generally known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decided to halt the acceptance of new participants into the Migrant Protection Program (MPP) in January 2021 so that it could investigate the Trump administration’s immigration policy.
Migrants who are not registered in the MPP should be processed by other existing legal authorities, as stipulated by the program; nonetheless, Biden issued an executive order instructing Mayorkas to study the program and decide whether or not to discontinue it or make changes to it.
The state of Texas filed a lawsuit challenging the move, claiming that it violated the Immigration and Nationality Act, also known as the INA. According to the INA, an alien who arrives on land from a foreign territory may be returned to that territory after a court hearing. The state of Texas challenged the move in court.
A third clause of the INA states that an immigrant should be detained until a hearing can be held if it can be demonstrated that the individual is not plainly and unequivocally entitled to be admitted to the country to which they are applying for entry. Following a hearing on the complaint that was brought against the administration of Vice President Joe Biden, the court decided that the MPP could not be canceled.
On October 29, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published memorandums indicating that the MPP will be terminated and asking the court to void its previous verdict and declare the matter moot. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, disagreed and decided that the memoranda had no bearing on the case at all.
On June 30, 2022, nearly eight months after the Fifth Circuit Court handed down the decision, the Supreme Court overturned it by ruling that the memoranda were valid and that the termination of the MPP did not violate the provision’s mandatory-detention requirement. The Supreme Court handed down this decision.
However, during the process, the court concluded that the government was in breach of its commitments. However, to decide whether the memoranda were arbitrary and capricious, the case would have to be remanded to the United States District Court.
In the ruling that he handed down this week, Judge Kacsmaryk stated that the court pauses, or suspends, the Oct. 29 memoranda and the previous decision on June 1, 2021, from DHS, to terminate MPP “until the Court can resolve the merits of Plaintiff’s allegations.”
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