WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to block a court ruling ordering the Biden administration to reinstate a Trump-era policy that forces people to wait in Mexico while seeking asylum in the US.
With the three liberal justices in dissent, the court said the administration likely violated federal law in its efforts to rescind the program informally known as Remain in Mexico.
It’s not clear how many people will be affected and how quickly. Under the lower court ruling, the administration must make a “good faith effort” to restart the program.
There also is nothing preventing the administration from trying again to end the program, formally called Migrant Protection Protocols.
A federal judge in Texas had previously ordered that the program be reinstated last week. Both he and the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals refused the administration’s request to put the ruling on hold.
Justice Samuel Alito ordered a brief delay to allow the full court time to consider the administration’s appeal to keep the ruling on hold while the case continues to make its way through the courts.
The 5th Circuit ordered expedited consideration of the administration’s appeal.
The court offered little explanation for its action, although it cited its opinion from last year rejecting the Trump administration’s effort to end another immigration program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. In that case, the court held that the decision to end DACA was “arbitrary and capricious,” in violation of federal law.
The administration has “failed to show a likelihood of success on the claim that the memorandum rescinding the Migrant Protection Protocols was not arbitrary and capricious,” the court wrote Tuesday in an unsigned order.
The three dissenting justices, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, did not write an opinion expressing their views of the case.
The American Civil Liberties Union called on the administration to present a fuller rationale for ending Remain in Mexico that could withstand court scrutiny.
“The government must take all steps available to fully end this illegal program, including by re-terminating it with a fuller explanation. What it must not do is use this decision as cover for abandoning its commitment to restore a fair asylum system,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s immigrant rights project.