Well, that certainly didn’t take long at all. Just yesterday, Karen reported on the federal appeals court judge in Texas who ruled that the Biden administration must reinstate the Remain in Mexico policy originally enacted by Donald Trump. That produced a flurry of activity in the courts. The White House immediately appealed that decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit in New Orleans, requesting a delay in the order, but that appeal was rejected. The case then went to the Supreme Court, where Justice Samuel Alito (of all people) issued a stay, temporarily putting the order on hold. This was seen as a victory for the Biden administration, but it may turn out to be quite fleeting. The Supremes will consider the matter on Tuesday. (Associated Press)
The Supreme Court is temporarily halting a judge’s order that would have forced the government to reinstate a Trump administration policy forcing thousands to wait in Mexico while seeking asylum in the U.S.
Justice Samuel Alito issued the temporary stay late Friday night. It will remain in effect until Tuesday night so the high court can consider filings in the case.
A federal judge in Texas had previously ordered that the program, informally known as “Remain in Mexico,” be reinstated Saturday. The Biden administration appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Appeal in New Orleans and asked for a delay in re-implementing the program, pending appeal, but that was denied Thursday.
While it may seem surprising that it was Alito who signed the stay given his previous lenience in terms of allowing the executive branch to define immigration policy, this was simply a procedural maneuver. When there is conflict in the lower courts, particularly when immigration policy is in flux, the Supreme Court will generally take the time to consider all of the lower court decisions and additional briefs that have been filed. This shouldn’t be taken as a signal that Alito plans to vote in favor of the Biden administration. (Or against them, for that matter.)
The Migrant Protection Protocols program (MMP) was very successful in terms of containing some of the potential madness on the southern border and remains one of Donald Trump’s significant accomplishments in foreign policy. His carrot and stick approach to dealing with the Mexican government produced positive outcomes for both nations while each had to be willing to compromise on certain issues. But the success or failure of either approach will not be taken into account by the Supreme Court.
That’s something of a shame, since the disaster that’s been unfolding on the Mexican border for months now speaks to what a dismal failure the reversal of Trump’s immigration policies has been. Were it not for the even larger disaster in Afghanistan, the Biden border crisis would likely still be one of the bigger stories in the news today, assuming the mainstream press actually decided to cover it.
Last week, Pew Research reported that the CBP recorded nearly 200,000 “encounters” with migrants along the Mexican border in July. That’s the largest number seen in 21 years. It also eclipsed the 188,000 encounters recorded in June. Compare that to June of 2006, when 68,000 migrants were taken into custody. You don’t need an advanced degree in either math or law enforcement to be able to conclude that this administration’s open border policies have been and remain a rolling disaster.
We shouldn’t have too long to wait to learn how this twist in the story ends. Whichever way the Supreme Court decides to go, appeals tend to take up less bandwidth than a full hearing of a fresh case, so a decision should be rendered some time in the coming week, if not immediately on Tuesday.
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