AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

Supreme Court Fails to Act — Burden on Biden to Undo Inhumane Trump Policy Denying Protection to Asylum Seekers

8/25/21 AILA Doc. No. 21082508. Admissions & Border, Asylum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, August 25, 2021

George Paul Tzamaras

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday evening denied the Justice Department's emergency request to halt a lower court ruling requiring the government to restart the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a Trump-era immigration policy that forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are pending in the United States. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) disagrees with the high court's decision and urges the Biden administration to immediately restore asylum law. The Supreme Court's order only addresses the government's request for an emergency stay of the ruling.

AILA President Allen Orr stated, “Nothing about the Supreme Court’s decision declining to issue an emergency stay changes the fact that Remain in Mexico violates U.S. and international humanitarian laws and flouts longstanding American principles that our nation will protect those fleeing danger who come to our shores and borders. While some people are calling it a ‘win’ for the former administration, the Court’s decision is limited to the emergency request. Still in question is the lower court’s error-ridden decision which got the facts wrong, misstated the law, and disregarded foreign-policy norms. The administration can comply with the lower court order while working to reestablish a lawful and just policy that reopens the border to people seeking safety and protection. Ultimately, the Biden administration must fully undo MPP—which is contrary to U.S. law—to ensure no asylum seeker is put in harm’s way.

Jennifer Ibañez Whitlock, Policy Counsel for AILA added, “The Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy trapped over 70,000 asylum seekers in life-threatening conditions in Mexico and defied the country’s legal and moral obligations. The Biden administration has been clawing its way back from the humanitarian disaster created by the poor border management policies of its predecessor, which stranded families, children, and adult asylum seekers in Mexico. The Biden administration has processed in over 13,000 individuals to continue their court proceedings, but so many more are struggling to survive in violent, dangerous conditions in Mexico. The President must redouble its efforts and take whatever steps are needed to undo MPP and restore U.S. humanitarian practice to what Americans expect: a fair and just policy that protects asylum seekers from harm through a safe and efficient process.”

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.