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Women’s Refugee Commission Welcomes U.S. Supreme Court Decision Affirming Termination of Remain in Mexico

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Supreme Court ruled in Biden v. Texas that the Biden administration has the authority to end the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as “Remain in Mexico.”

Under the Trump administration, MPP sent more than 70,000 people to wait for their U.S. court hearings in Mexico, where many experienced serious harms, including kidnapping, extortion, and assault. The Biden administration ended the policy in February 2021 due to its “endemic flaws” and “unjustifiable human costs.” Following a court order in August 2021 to reimplement the program, more than 5,000 people have been subjected to the policy. Most of these individuals lack legal representation and face dangerous, squalid conditions while waiting in Mexico, despite the Biden administration’s attempt to mitigate harm.

In response to today’s announcement, Katharina Obser, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), stated:

“The Women’s Refugee Commission welcomes today’s Supreme Court decision rightfully affirming the Biden administration’s actions to end the horrific MPP program. This decision is a huge victory in the fight to end a policy that forced tens of thousands of families and vulnerable individuals to wait in dangerous conditions in Mexico while applying for asylum in the United States.

“Since the program first started over three years ago, WRC has traveled up and down the U.S.-Mexico border to document its harms and fundamental incompatibility with due process under both iterations of MPP. There is no question that MPP separates families and leaves thousands of people seeking safety, including Black, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, and women asylum seekers, vulnerable to immense trauma and harm. The Trump administration created MPP with the explicit goal of denying people seeking asylum the opportunity to seek safety in the U.S. Additional safeguards added to the latest iteration of MPP by the Biden administration have not removed the fact that the program is a human rights and due process disaster.

“The Supreme Court has spoken loud and clear. The Biden administration must now take immediate action to end Remain in Mexico once and for all and ensure that no one else is returned back to harm. WRC stands ready to work with the administration and local service providers to support individuals still waiting in Mexico under the policy to continue their immigration cases safely in the United States.

“The Biden administration must also continue to urgently pursue the end of other anti-asylum policies that are rooted in racism and xenophobia, such as Title 42, that have forced those lawfully seeking safety at U.S. borders back to harm in Mexico or elsewhere. The many tragedies of recent weeks and months make even clearer that the administration must do all it can to ensure access to asylum. Those fleeing persecution and seeking safety should not have to wait a moment longer to finally exercise their right to seek asylum.

“Today, as we welcome the Court’s decision, we urge the Biden administration to not only end Remain in Mexico but also use every tool available to fully restore access to asylum in the United States, including at ports of entry.”