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Topline

A controversial Trump-era policy requiring U.S. asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their claims are processed could be reinstated by the Biden Administration as soon as next week, according to Axios, despite President Joe Biden’s efforts to end the practice.

Key Facts

The Biden Administration announced in June that the policy was ending, but the federal government is being forced by a court order to put it back in place.

“Remain in Mexico,” as the policy is commonly called, was implemented by President Donald Trump’s administration in 2019, but Biden officials have wanted to end the policy, which Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has called “inhumane.”

A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson did not confirm the reported timetable in a statement to Forbes, but did say that the federal government is working to reimplement the policy “as promptly as possible” to be “in compliance with the court order.”

Key Background

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, has blocked the administration’s move to end the program, saying the federal government did not follow proper procedures to cancel it and failed to take its benefits into account. The Biden Administration brought a challenge of the decision to the Supreme Court, which issued a ruling in August upholding Kacsmaryk’s court order that forces the government to restart the policy. Mayorkas issued a memo last month seeking to resolve the court issues, acknowledging that illegal border crossings dropped while the policy was in place but also claiming it did more harm than good by placing asylum seekers in danger. The memo stated many migrants faced unsafe living conditions in Mexico and lacked access to adequate legal representation. 

What To Watch For

Some vulnerable populations are expected to be excused from going to Mexico, according to Axios, citing two immigration officials. Those being sent to Mexico will reportedly be offered a Covid-19 vaccine.

Surprising Fact

Illegal border crossings have skyrocketed since Biden took office. According to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the number of encounters along the southwestern border increased from around 78,000 in January to more than 213,000 in July, and has remained around 200,000 per month since. Border encounters numbered fewer than 50,000 a month during much of 2020.

Further Reading

Scoop: Biden restarting Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy (Axios)

Biden Administration Again Seeks End To Trump’s ‘Remain In Mexico’ Policy (Forbes)

Supreme Court Forces Biden To Return To ‘Remain In Mexico’ Asylum Policy (Forbes)

Source: Forbes – Business

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