(RightWing.org) – The Biden administration is stubbornly intent on ending an illegal immigration program known as the Remain in Mexico policy. In 2019, then-President Donald Trump negotiated the plan with Mexico which required migrants to stay in that country until a US federal immigration judge could hear their asylum cases. Despite the hundreds of thousands of people or more who show up at the border seeking asylum, you might be shocked to learn that, on average, only 70,000 to 80,000 met eligibility for asylum by the US government. Under Trump, the number plummeted to 12,000.
In April, Texas and Missouri sued the federal government over the Biden administration’s revocation of Remain in Mexico. In October, a federal district judge ruled the administration broke the law in how they reversed course and ordered the policy reinstated. On Monday, December 13, the Fifth Circuit upheld the lower court ruling. In deciding the case, the appellate court used a 2020 Supreme Court case to support its ruling.
Why Remain in Mexico Is Important
So, if federal immigration judges grant only a few people asylum, what happens to the rest of the cases that the courts never hear? For the better part of a decade or more, federal immigration officials practiced what’s called catch and release. Instead of turning people away, the government allowed them into the country, gave them a date, time, and location for an asylum hearing. Afterwards, many of the supposed asylum seekers never showed up in court.
Estimates suggest between 10.5 million and 12 million illegal immigrants reside in the United States at any one time, depending on whose numbers you look at. Most of them come from Mexico and Central America, but some are coming from as far away as Africa. While illegal immigrants may pay some taxes, a comprehensive study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) says the net cost of illegal immigration to federal, state, and local governments was approximately $116 billion in 2017. Taxpayers pick up this bill to pay for welfare, medical benefits, education, and a host of other services.
Judge Overrules Biden Administration Using DACA as the Rationale
What is good for the goose is good for the gander. In Monday’s ruling, the court said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) asserted it has the power and authority to reverse a massive policy decision that affects billions of taxpayer dollars and countless people. It does this simply by typing up a document and posting it online. The administration sought no input from Congress, violated rulemaking procedures, and didn’t ask for a judicial review before implementing a partisan policy.
At the heart of the ruling was a 2020 Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the Trump administration from terminating Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA provides work permits and deportation relief to those entering America illegally as children. The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration didn’t consider the interest of those in the program – including states, universities, and the individuals in question.
The Fifth Circuit added that if DHS had to consider the state’s interests before terminating DACA, it must do the same before terminating the Remain in Mexico policy.
So, the courts are being consistent. What some saw as bad for immigration law in the 2020 Supreme Court ruling is now good in 2021. If the case reaches the Supreme Court, it’s boxed in. Will it uphold the precedent set by the 2020 ruling or reverse course?
Don’t count on the latter.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
Copyright 2021, RightWing.org