The Supreme Court on June 21 dismissed as moot a case filed against the Migrant Protection Protocols, the Trump-era program otherwise known as the “remain in Mexico” policy, which was dismantled by the Biden administration earlier this year.
Former President Donald Trump implemented the program in 2018, spawning a number of different lawsuits against it. The policy mandated that prospective asylum-seekers who were found crossing the border could be returned to Mexico, where they would await a court date in front of a U.S. immigration judge.
The Supreme Court had previously lifted an injunction, granting a Trump request, that was previously imposed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
However, as lawsuits against the program continued, President Joe Biden officially terminated the policy. In February, when the administration announced it would wind down the Migrant Protection Protocols, the Justice Department (DOJ) asked the Supreme Court to toss the case.
The Supreme Court sent one of the lawsuits—which sought to invalidate the Trump-era policy—back to the 9th Circuit with instructions to dismiss the case as moot in an unsigned order.
When the administration announced it would do away with the program, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memo (pdf) that it didn’t enhance border management.
Earlier this year, the DOJ, in a separate case, asked the Supreme Court to toss a case that challenged how the Trump administration secured funding for the border wall. When the wall construction was halted on Biden’s first day in office, Biden called it “a waste of money” and described it as ineffective.
Republicans have criticized Biden’s move to rescind the “Remain in Mexico” policy, along with other executive actions. They say the administration’s policies and messaging are encouraging people to cross the U.S.–Mexico border illegally.
Since leaving office in January, Trump has issued statements critical of the current border policies, saying that the ones he authorized should be reimplemented. Trump argued that the construction of the border wall—a key 2016 campaign promise—should be restarted after the Biden administration suspended it and diverted funds back to the Department of Defense earlier this month.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who was appointed by Biden to lead immigration efforts, has been frequently criticized by GOP lawmakers for not having made a visit to the border. Harris and her aides have said she plans to visit the area, adding that they’re mainly tasked with bolstering economic aid to Central America and Mexico.
According to recent data released by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), more than 180,000 illegal immigrants were arrested along the border in May—the highest number reported in decades.