Some question rule’s effectiveness as Mexican government transports foreign nationals to U.S. border
By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas has stayed a Biden administration rule terminating the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), otherwise known as the “Remain-in-Mexico” program, requiring it to remain in effect.
The Trump administration created the MPP as a way to curtail illegal entry by requiring those making immigration claims to remain in Mexico as their cases make their way through the U.S. court system. In January 2021, the Biden administration first attempted to terminate it, and in April 2021, Texas and Missouri sued.
The case has a complex history, having gone from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Amarillo Division to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the district court’s ruling, to the U.S. Supreme Court, which remanded the case back to the district court.
On Dec. 15, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk granted the request of Texas and Missouri and stayed a DHS Oct. 29, 2021, memoranda terminating the MPP. He also denied all requests for relief by the federal government, which is expected to appeal.
Judge Kacsmaryk also rejected all arguments made by the Biden administration, including that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ memo was “agency discretion” not subject to judicial review or that the MPP fell outside of the jurisdiction of the Immigration Naturalization Act.
He issued the stay arguing the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their case.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the ruling was a major victory after he “sued the administration nearly two years ago,” which has since “played games all the way to SCOTUS.”
Mr. Paxton tweeted, “Texas & USA WINS” as a result of the ruling and “[President] Biden’s open-border agenda won’t survive my legal attacks.”
In a statement, he said the administration’s policies were ushering in “tens of thousands of illegal aliens … crossing our border every single week, overwhelming our communities and making our state and nation less safe” as a result of “the Biden administration’s unwavering determination to get as many illegal aliens into this country as possible.”
“A key part of their open-borders agenda has been ending the Remain-in-Mexico program,” Mr. Paxton added. “But the law is not on their side. The court made the right decision here in protecting Remain-in-Mexico, and I look forward to fighting to make sure the program is secured indefinitely.”
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt also pointed out key arguments from the order in which Judge Kacsmaryk said, “Defendants fail to adequately consider costs to States and their reliance interests” and that Texas and Missouri “showed that there will be irreparable harm without preliminary relief.”
While the AGs maintain the ruling is a victory, law enforcement officers and Border Patrol agents argue it’s likely to do little to stop the surge at the southern border – especially since the Mexican government is transporting foreign nationals through Mexico to the Texas border, which Fox News reported last week.
Also last week, the Mexican National Immigration Institute announced that a massive migrant camp was being closed in the remote town of San Pedro Tapanatepec in the southern state of Oaxaca, after other large camps have been closed. This camp was opened six months ago to hold mostly Venezuelans and Nicaraguans who’d illegally entered Mexico to provide relief to the southern city of Tapachula at the Mexico-Guatemala border.
Roughly 50,000 people had passed through the camp in October alone, the Associated Press reported. It also reported that Mexico was issuing tens of thousands of temporary transit documents to enable them and other illegal foreign nationals to move north through Mexico. The Mexican government requires people illegally in Mexico to have temporary transit documents in order to travel or work there without being arrested, law enforcement officers have explained to The Center Square.
With the Title 42 enforcement ending this week, a record 50,000 people a week are now being apprehended by Border Patrol agents at the southern border alone, The Center Square learned from a CBP briefing held with law enforcement on Monday.
A caravan of 44,000 people is currently en route to the U.S. southern border, The Center Square also learned.
The U.S. federal government has “delegated the authority” of who “remains in Mexico” to the Mexican government, a Border Patrol agent working in one of the busiest sectors in Texas told The Center Square on condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job.
“Mexico determines who will be allowed to return under this program based off of their country of origin, family unit status and age of children,” the agent said.
The agent also pointed out that “only 10-12 percent of those we apprehend claim asylum. The rest we either parole or NTA,” meaning release into the U.S. with a “Notice to Appear” to an immigration court. Many of the NTAs have no court or hearing date information, the agent said.
The agent asked The Center Square, “what is the state [Texas] going to do about the catch and release of the remaining 88% of those we apprehend?”