A federal judge in northern Texas issued a nationwide injunction on Friday, ordering the Biden administration to reinstate former President Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), or “remain in Mexico” policy. The lawsuit was filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, alongside Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled the Biden administration must “enforce and implement MPP in good faith until such a time as it has been lawfully rescinded in compliance with the [Administrative Procedure Act] APA and until such a time as the federal government has sufficient detention capacity to detain all aliens subject to mandatory detention under Section 1255 without releasing any aliens because of a lack of detention resources.”
Moreover, to ensure compliance with the ruling, the administration must file a report with the court on the 15th of each month beginning Sept. 15, detailing “the total monthly number of encounters at the southwest border,” “the total monthly number of aliens expelled under Title 42, Section 1225, or under any other statute,” “Defendants’ total detention capacity as well as current usage rate,” “the total monthly number of ‘ applicants for admission’ under Section 1225,” “the total monthly number of ‘applicants for admission’ under Section 1225 paroled into the United States,” and “the total monthly number of ‘applicants for admission’ under Section 1225 released into the United States, paroled or otherwise.”
Kacsmaryk ultimately concluded that the federal government “failed to consider several critical factors, including the benefits of the remain in Mexico policy,” and failed “to show a reasoned decision” for canceling MPP.
Missouri Attorney General Schmitt reacted positively to the news, describing the ruling as a “huge win” and “a big step towards securing the border.”
“My office has been leading the way nationally in fighting human trafficking, and the Biden Administration’s lax border policies increase the risk for human trafficking at the border and, in turn, in Missouri,” he said. “Today’s massive win was crucial – re-implementing the Migrant Protection Protocols will help secure the border and fight the scourge of human trafficking.”
BREAKING: Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt just won a MAJOR immigration lawsuit against the Biden Administration. This evening, a federal court sided with Missouri and Texas and ordered the Biden Admin to REINSTATE the "Remain in Mexico" policy. Big win for border security! pic.twitter.com/JXQYJXKAvU
— Attorney General Eric Schmitt (@AGEricSchmitt) August 14, 2021
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) August 14, 2021
Implemented under the Trump administration, the MPP or “remain in Mexico” policy ordered migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico until their case could be heard by U.S. immigration courts. The protocol effectively ended “catch and release,” wherein migrants claiming asylum would be released into the United States while immigration courts decided the legality of their demands to enter the United States.
Upon taking office in January, President Joe Biden suspended the enforcement of MPP, with a final termination of the policy coming on June 1. In a memo authored by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the Biden administration claimed that the policy did not “adequately or sustainably enhance border management.”
“Moreover, in making my assessment, I share the belief that we can only manage migration in an effective, responsible, and durable manner if we approach the issue comprehensively, looking well beyond our own borders,” Mayorkas wrote.