Biden Administration Will Keep Trying To End Trump-Era ‘Remain In Mexico’ Asylum Program Despite Court Order

After a judge ordered President Joe Biden that he restore a Trump-era policy that required asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico until their day in U.S immigration court, the administration said Wednesday it would issue a new memo to end the policy. This comes as Biden's immigration agenda faces legal challenges, political acrimony, and an increase in migration levels.

On December 9, 2019, a camp for asylum-seekers is located next to the international bridge to America in Matamoros (Mexico). Getty Images

The Key Facts

According to the Department of Homeland Security, an updated memo will be released within the next few days that attempts to end Trump's Migrant Protection Protocols. Also known as the "Remain in Mexico" program, the memo is intended to inform the public about the Department of Homeland Security's plans. Biden had originally ended MPP earlier in the year. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk rescinded his order on August. He argued that officials failed to follow proper steps for changing federal policies and weren't keeping enough asylum-seekers in detention after they entered the United States. DHS stated that a new memo to end MPP will address concerns raised by courts. However, Kacsmaryks Supreme Court ruling last month which allowed it to go into effect last month won't make it effective. DHS claims it is working in good faith in order to restart MPP in accordance with [Kacsmaryks] orders. This will require cooperation from Mexico, which has not been open to the idea of allowing MPP to resume fully.

Important Background

In 2019, President Donald Trump ordered that tens of thousands migrant workers who sought asylum in the United States were allowed to temporarily reside on the Mexican side. They often stayed in temporary camps, while they waited for court proceedings. This policy was part a larger Trump-era strategy to limit asylum applications, decrease unauthorized border crossings, and discourage people from making dangerous journeys. MPP was subject to constant criticism and faced legal challenges. Critics called it inhumane, dangerous, and pointed to scores of kidnappings, assaults, and detentions of asylum-seekers. They also warned that the government's legal obligation to grant asylum to people who are afraid of persecution in their home countries could lead to the policy being deemed illegal. Biden began to unwind MPP in the spring and allowed many of its enrollees into the United States.


There has been a significant increase in border crossings, which has led to uncertainty about MPP. Border Patrol apprehended almost 196,000 migrants at U.S. Mexico border last month, and more than 250,000 in July. This is in addition to a streak of 20-year-highs that lasted months. Biden's administration claims that this increase is due to violence and poverty in Central America, as well as unusually high recidivism rates among border-crossers. Republicans blame Biden for trying to relax Trump's strict immigration rules. Recently, thousands of Haitian migrants crossed into Texas from Haiti and stayed under a bridge. This prompted the Biden administration, which controversially increased removal flights to Haiti.

Surprising Fact

Other court cases have been filed against the Biden administration over its immigration policies. Biden's 100-day moratorium against most deportations was halted by a Texas federal judge in January. In July, a Texas court ordered Biden to cease granting new applications to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. This Obama-era program offered temporary protection and work permits for undocumented immigrant children who arrived in the United States. Biden was also prohibited by a D.C. federal court from quickly expelling families who were caught crossing the U.S.–Mexico border. This practice was initiated by Trump, but supported by the Biden administration.