The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear President Joe Biden’s bid to rescind a hardline immigration policy begun under his predecessor Donald Trump that forced tens of thousands of migrants to stay in Mexico to await U.S. hearings on their asylum claims.
The justices will hear a Biden administration appeal of a lower court ruling that reinstated the so-called “remain in Mexico” policy after the Republican-led states of Texas and Missouri had sued to maintain the program. Biden suspended the policy, which changed longstanding U.S. practice, shortly after taking office last year.
Trump’s administration said what it called a security and humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexican border justified refusing to allow migrants seeking asylum, because of a fear of persecution in their home countries, to enter the United States ahead of hearings before immigration judges. The policy is formally called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
Prior administrations had used the federal immigration provision at issue in the case, which took effect in 1997, on a limited basis, court papers said.
The Biden administration said the provision is clearly discretionary and that the lower court’s decision means that every presidential administration “has been in continuous and systematic violation” of the law since it was created.
Roughly 68,000 people fell under the policy from the time it took effect in 2019 until Biden suspended it in 2021.