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Alex Mensing, Communications Strategist
The Biden administration must take bold, swift action to fulfill its campaign promise and fully end Remain in Mexico – and other restrictions on the lawful right to seek asylum
San Diego, CA — Innovation Law Lab welcomes today’s Supreme Court decision in the Biden v. Texas case, in which the Court affirms the Biden administration’s authority to end the heinous Trump-era Remain in Mexico policy (“MPP”). At the same time, Law Lab condemns renewed legislative amendments that would enshrine the inhumane Title 42 restrictions in law.
Tess Hellgren, Deputy Legal Director at Innovation Law Lab, stated:
“Today’s decision is an important legal victory, especially at a moment when too many fundamental human rights are under attack from our judicial branch. But no legal victory can undo the unspeakable harm to the more than 71,000 individuals already subjected to Remain in Mexico. We call on the Biden administration to act swiftly and decisively to put an end to this travesty. Meanwhile, we will continue to fight relentlessly for the dignity and safety of all individuals still stranded at the U.S. border who assert their right to seek protection.
“Even as we find hope in today’s decision, the fight continues. Today, for the second time in as many weeks, Title 42 restrictions were incorporated into a bill proposed by the House Appropriations Committee. We strongly condemn Democratic support for these restrictions, which further decimate our asylum system to the tremendous detriment of people fleeing violence, especially Black, Indigenous and LGBTQ+ individuals. Like MPP, Title 42 is an inhumane and unlawful policy that should be firmly rejected by our elected officials – never enshrined in statutory law.”
Under Remain in Mexico, tens of thousands of people who were forced to leave their homes behind, including children, have been trapped in dangerous, inhumane conditions near the US-Mexico border and denied their rights to seek safety in the United States. When the Biden administration moved swiftly to first suspend and then terminate the cruel policy in 2021, the state governments of Texas and Missouri sued to maintain Remain in Mexico in furtherance of their anti-immigrant agendas. Since August 2021, a federal judge appointed by Trump has misinterpreted federal law to require the federal government to continue to “implement MPP in good faith.”
In today’s 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the federal government’s continued implementation of Remain in Mexico is in any way mandated by U.S. immigration law. It also recognized that DHS Secretary Mayorkas’s October 29, 2021 Termination Memo was its own final agency action that provides an independent basis for the Biden administration’s termination of the program. Notably, the decision also rejected the power of a single district judge to enjoin the federal government’s exercise of its contiguous-return authority, finding that the district court’s August 2021 injunction was issued in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1252(f)(1) per the Court’s recent decision in Garland v. Aleman Gonzalez.
At Innovation Law Lab, we have been battling the implementation of Remain in Mexico and Title 42 since their inception, both inside and outside the courtroom. In 2019, we sued the Trump administration in an attempt to block the initial implementation of MPP (“MPP 1.0”) from ever being implemented; despite significant legal victories prior to the Biden administration’s, the Supreme Court allowed the government’s implementation of the policy to continue. We then joined partners to file a lawsuit challenging the implementation of the first iteration of MPP on behalf of several individuals, Immigrant Defenders Law Center, and Jewish Family Services of San Diego. The Biden administration continues to oppose our efforts to gain relief for our plaintiffs, who suffer ongoing harm. At the same time, we are representing Haitian Bridge Alliance and several courageous individuals to address the devastating impacts of Title 42 through our lawsuit challenging the abuse and expulsions of Black and Haitian migrants near Del Rio, Texas, in September 2021.
We find strength in the courageous struggle of the immigrants and people seeking asylum who we serve, and in the fierce resistance of the impacted individuals and organizations fighting shoulder to shoulder to promote dignity, equity, life and justice for all.
Innovation Law Lab, based in Portland, Oregon with projects around the United States, is a nonprofit organization that leverages law, technology and organizing to fight for immigrant and refugee justice. For more information, see www.innovationlawlab.org and follow us on social media: @innovationlawlab on Facebook & Instagram and @ThinkLawLab on Twitter.