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According to reports, some White House officials saw last week’s Supreme Court ruling confirming the Trump-era policy of remaining in Mexico as an opportunity to slow the pace of President Biden’s immigration changes that they feared would that they would trigger the crisis on the border.
Many of them had already considered restarting former President Donald Trump’s policies in a narrow way to stem the tide of migrants, according to the New York Times.
Officials saw the judges’ decision as a way to give Biden political cover to change his predecessor’s immigration policy without angering the Democrats who had railed against these programs for the past four years.
The Ditching the Remain in Mexico program was one of several Trump immigration programs that Biden reversed or rolled back in the early days of his administration – and which critics claim served as a welcome invitation for migrants from Mexico and Central American countries.
There have been more than 1 million illegal border crossings that year, breaking records month after month.
Migrant children attend a course at a migrant camp where asylum seekers wait for the US authorities to begin their migration process. AFP via Getty Images
“They are being pushed into a corner on their broader immigration agenda,” Doris Meissner, immigration and naturalization commissioner from 1993-2000, told The Times. “The only tools that are available at short notice are pretty much pure enforcement.”
Biden officials are also concerned about the impact the runaway border situation would have on next fall’s midterm elections.
“This desire to reverse Trump’s policies and to do so quickly has put the Biden administration in this predicament, which was not unpredictable and which is very sad to watch,” said Alan Bersin, who is Obama’s commissioner for customs and border protection -Government served, the Times told.
According to the White House, the plan would allow a smaller number of asylum-seeking immigrants to wait in Mexico in better living conditions while cases are processed.REUTERS / Jose Luis Gonzalez
The government is considering revising its policy of staying in Mexico to allow a smaller number of asylum-seeking immigrants to wait in Mexico while their cases go to court – and give them better living conditions and access to lawyers, Politico reported on Monday.
The White House is debating with Mexico changing what some are calling “Remain in Mexico lite” to ensure it complies with the Supreme Court ruling and continues to deliver on Biden’s campaign promise to end the “inhumane” program that he tried after taking office on January 20th.
The Supreme Court upheld an order from a federal judge calling for the reinstatement of politics – officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols Program.
A migrant camp outside of El Chaparral Harbor in Tijuana, Baja California.AFP via Getty Images
The chance that the policy of remaining in Mexico could be revived has made some immigration advocates angry at Biden for taking his word back to make the process more humane.
“One of his campaign promises was to end MPP. He did that. He should stand by it, ”Marielena Hincapié, director of the National Immigration Law Center, told Politico. “The answer is not just finding a softer, friendlier MPP 2.0. That completely contradicts his promise. “
The Department of Homeland Security said it disagreed with the court’s ruling and would appeal it.
Yadiel Garcia and his father Fabricio from Honduras kneel while praying during a migrant demonstration.AFP via Getty Images
“In the further course of the appeal process, however, the DHS will follow the order in good faith,” said a statement.
“DHS remains committed to building a safe, orderly and humane immigration system that upholds our laws and values,” it added.
The fluctuations in immigration policy have left migrants unsure of what to expect at the border.
“The most frustrating part of the last eight months has just been the ever changing policies and situations at the border, especially for asylum seekers because on the other hand they think that … ‘If we wait, Biden will eventually open’ the ports of entry and let us in, ‘”Robyn Barnard, senior advocacy counsel for refugee protection at Human Rights First, told Politico.