Supreme Court backs Biden administration in immigration policy rollback

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 2:14 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The Supreme Court finished its term Wednesday with a ruling in a case over a Trump-era immigration policy. In the final opinion of the term, the justices ruled 5-4 in Biden v. Texas. The majority ruled in favor of a Biden Administration decision to scrap a Trump-era rule that sent asylum-seeking immigrants back to Mexico to wait for their trials in the US.

“This is a massive decision from the court,” said Karen Tumlin from the Justice Action Center.

Tumlin praised the opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the three liberal justices.

On his first day in office, President Biden announced the reversal of the 2019 Trump rule called the Migrant Protection Protocol or “Remain in Mexico” program. Immigration advocates argued the policy put asylum seekers in dangerous situations in Mexico.

But the states of Texas and Missouri sued, saying reversing the policy is illegal. Lower courts agreed, but the nation’s highest court overturned their ruling Thursday, saying the administration was within its rights to reverse the policy, and the lower courts now need to reassess how the administration went about the reversal.

“We want the Biden administration to create the vision for the legal and moral asylum system that we need,” said Tumlin.

In his dissent, Justice Samuel Alito argues the administration’s reversal was improper. Julie Axelrod from the Center for Immigration Studies agrees with Alito and argues border security is at stake. Axelrod thinks the Biden Administration reversing the policy removed a deterrent that could prevent a rush of immigrants.

“You can’t just say, ‘Alright, we had something that was working that stopped us from breaking the law, but, we’re just not going to do it because we’d rather not,’” said Axelrod.

Axelrod is concerned the administration is releasing immigrants into the U.S. to await trial without ensuring they are safe candidates for parole. She believes getting rid of the policy sends a welcome message to people wanting to enter the U.S. illegally.

“You can almost create your own crisis, and then use the crisis to say, ‘I don’t need to follow the law,’” said Axelrod.

After the opinion came down, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in after Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement. Jackson will hear arguments for the first time when the court reconvenes in the fall.

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