The Supreme Court said on Wednesday that Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, can continue while legal challenges play out in lower courts. The stay reverses a previous decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to block MPP in California and Arizona, and Justice Sonya Sotomayor was the only dissenter,
The court battle over MPP began in January 2019, when several legal aid and human rights organizations sued the federal government and asked for an injunction. That was granted, but a stay was placed on it by the end of the summer. By mid-October, MPP had been rolled out along the Texas-Mexico border.
This February, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said that the policy of making asylum-seekers wait in Mexico violated federal laws and international refugee treaties. They placed an injunction on the policy again, but halted their own ruling a few hours later when the Trump administration requested an emergency stay until the Supreme Court could weigh in.
By the end of February, the 9th Circuit Court said it would block MPP in California and Arizona, which are in its jurisdiction, but declined to block it in New Mexico and Texas. The court also agreed to keep the emergency stay until March 11, the deadline they gave the Supreme Court to make a ruling.
In Texas, the “Remain in Mexico” policy has led to migrant camps holding thousands of asylum-seekers along the Juárez-El Paso and Matamoros-Brownsville ports of entry. In February, when word of the 9th Circuit’s ruling began to spread, hundreds of migrants reportedly rushed to both bridges hoping they would be able to cross into the United States and make their case for asylum. In response to the 9th Circuit ruling, the Trump administration announced Friday it would send 160 active military troops to the San Diego and El Paso bridges. U.S. Border and Customs Protection said the 80 troops he would send to the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso would provide “military police support, engineer, and aviation support.”
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