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US Supreme Court temporarily halts reinstatement of Trump era 'Remain in Mexico' protocol

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo taken in August, 2021 in Washington, DC shows the entrance to the US Supreme Court. (Photo by AFP)

A higher court has temporarily blocked a lower court's ruling that would have made it obligatory for US President Joe Biden to restart a controversial anti-immigration policy imposed by former President Donald Trump.

The US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ruled on Friday to put the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" policy on hold while the high court judges on how to handle the Biden administration's request to block the lower court judge's ruling.

The Biden administration requested the Supreme Court to take legal action against the New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals after the lower court ordered the government to revive the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly referred to in media as Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy.

Conservative Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, ruled that the Biden administration had “failed to consider several critical factors” when ending the program. He specifically cited Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas's formal ending of the MPP in June as a violation of federal law. 

Kacsmaryk's ruling  earlier this month "requires the government to abruptly reinstate a broad and controversial immigration enforcement program that has been formally suspended for seven months and largely dormant for nearly nine months before that," Acting Solicitor General Brian Fletcher had written in papers to the Supreme Court.

During his four-year stint as president, Trump launched a “zero tolerance” policy against Latin American immigrants entering the US.

The Biden administration, however, maintains that the Trump-era anti-immigration policy has been detrimental to bilateral relations with its regional partners, requesting the Supreme Court to block the MPP program which expels asylum-seekers without giving them a chance in the United States.

The administration of the Democratic president wrote to the Supreme Court that the harsh anti-immigration policy imposed by the Republican president Trump  "would prejudice the United States’ relations with vital regional partners, severely disrupt its operations at the southern border, and threaten to create a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis."

The Trump-era MPP policy, which was put in place in 2019, signaled an unprecedented anti-immigration policy, separating it from all previous immigration protocols. 

Trump, who had vowed to crack down on refugees and illegal immigrants, deported an estimated 68,000 Latin American asylum-seekers to Mexico under the MPP "Remain in Mexico" policy.


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