Supreme Court to review Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy

Elias Hubbard
October 19, 2020

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to render a verdict on the legality of President Trump's use of military funds to pay for an expanded border wall as well as his "remain in Mexico" policy preventing migrants seeking asylum from entering this country before their claims are heard. Restricting both illegal and legal immigration has been a central theme of Trump's presidency.

More than 60,000 asylum-seekers were returned to Mexico under the policy.

The dispute over the border wall concerns a challenge to the use of $2.5 billion from the Pentagon to construct parts of the wall along the southwestern border - stretching across three states, including protected public land.

Similarly, the Supreme Court allowed the controversial "Remain in Mexico" asylum policy that mandates that non-Mexican asylum seekers return to Mexico until their immigration proceedings in the USA to stay in effect pending appeals.

The pandemic has lessened the government's dependence on Remain in Mexico; in March, the government began simply expelling any migrants they encountered from the country without allowing them to lodge a protection claim at all by declaring a public-health emergency at the border. He said the policy contradicted the text of the Immigration and Nationality Act. -Mexican border. His administration has said allowing the thousands of asylum seekers across the border would swamp the USA immigration system and damage American relations with Mexico.

A federal judge blocked the program nationwide, saying that forcing these asylum applicants to wait in Mexico was contrary to the text of the Immigration and Nationality Act and violated treaty-based obligations to not send refugees back to the unsafe countries from which they came. The Justice Department estimated in late February that there were 25,000 people still waiting in Mexico for hearings in USA court.

The high court also agreed to hear the Trump administration's appeal of a lower court ruling that it improperly diverted money to build portions of the border wall with Mexico.

Because the court's calendar is already full through the end of the year, the justices will not hear the case until 2021. Dissenting from a July order that allowed construction to continue, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that the court's action "I fear, may operate, in effect, as a final judgment". In June, the court kept in place legal protections for immigrants who came to the U.S.as children. But they may well be dismissed if an incoming Biden administration revokes the disputed Trump policies.

Trump, who ran for office in 2016 promising that Mexico would pay for the border wall, has obtained more than $15 billion in federal funds for his signature project, including $5 billion provided by Congress through conventional appropriations.

Environmental groups, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as lawyers for California and New Mexico, argued that the secretary had exceeded his authority in attempting to circumvent Congress. The challengers have said the wall would be disruptive to the environment in part because it could worsen flooding problems and have a negative impact on wildlife.

The case before the Supreme Court involved just the $2.5 billion in Defense Department funds.

The administration says that the transfer of funds was legitimate for national security purposes.

Just as the Trump administration has touted the wall, officials have also credited the "remain in Mexico" policy for helping stem the flow of migration despite a record number of arrests past year.

Trump during his first term also deployed thousands of troops to the southern border for support even though by law they are prohibited from interacting directly with migrants.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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