The Government of the President of the United States, Joe Biden, presented this Tuesday a plan to reinforce the border with Mexico against irregular immigration, despite the fact that his immigration policy is currently pending in the courts.
In a rush forward, the Biden Administration launched a six-point initiative to send more agents to the border – an additional 600 troops for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – and improve efficiency in processing of migrant cases, among others.
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All this to be prepared, if Justice allows it, for the rescission on May 23 of Title 42, a health regulation by which the US has been expelling undocumented immigrants under the pretext of the pandemic since Donald Trump’s mandate (2017-2021) and that now Biden wants to revoke.
The Government presented this Tuesday a plan to face the foreseeable massive arrival of migrants after the lifting of Title 42, despite the fact that this Monday a federal judge in Louisiana announced that he is going to block the decision of the Executive to end that rule.
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High-ranking officials of the Administration indicated this Tuesday in a call with journalists that, despite the fact that it makes “no sense” and they disagree with the decision of the Louisiana judge, the Executive will comply with the magistrate’s order when it is issued.
Even so, they explained that, once Title 42 is lifted, the Government intends to “significantly expand” rapid expulsions at the border through Title 8, which is the standard norm by which the United States carries out the deportations.
The expansion of these rapid expulsions is one of the six pillars of the Biden plan, which also seeks to strengthen cooperation on migration matters with other countries in the region.
The future of Title 42 depends on Justice, as well as the controversial immigration program “Remain in Mexico”, established in 2019 by Trump to return US asylum seekers to the neighboring country.
The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in a case in which it has to decide whether the Biden Administration has the right to terminate said program, whose official name is “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP, in English).
It is not clear which way the balance will tip in the Supreme Court, with six conservative and three progressive justices, although their questions reflected a certain skepticism towards the efforts of the states of Texas and Missouri, governed by Republicans, to prevent the Federal Executive terminate this program.
Representing the Government, the Attorney General, Elizabeth Prelogar, began her argument by recalling that the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro Mayorkas, exercised his legal authority to terminate the MPPs, but that a court has prevented him from doing so.
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In that sense, Prelogar emphasized that the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, on which the MPPs rely, says in one of its clauses that the DHS “may” use its authority to return migrants to Mexico, and not that you “should” use it.
A good part of Prelogar’s exposition and the questions from the Supreme Court judges focused on that detail in a way that the Government is using to defend its right to terminate the program and there were hardly any mentions of the tragic humanitarian situation that migrants are experiencing in the southern US border
Trump established the MPPs at the beginning of 2019, forcing foreigners who arrive at the border requesting asylum to wait for the course of their procedures in Mexican territory.
Biden suspended that policy on his first day in the White House, in January 2021, and tried to rescind it entirely last year, but faced opposition from the attorneys general of Texas and Missouri, who got a federal judge from the first state order the reestablishment of the MPP.
Last August, a federal appeals court and the Supreme Court rejected the government’s efforts to block the Texas judge’s ruling.
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In October, Mayorkas published a memorandum revoking “Remain in Mexico” again, but in December the Executive had to reactivate the program after another court ruling.
The Texas Attorney General, Judd Stone, also spoke before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, who argued that when the law says that migrants “will be detained” it is a mandate, so if the DHS cannot arrest them due to lack of space in their detention centers it is a “duty” to send them to Mexico.
Precisely Biden and his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will hold a virtual meeting next Friday in which they will discuss priorities in the region, including cooperation on immigration, the White House reported Tuesday.
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