Posted on August 16, 2021

Judge Orders U.S. to Reinstate Trump-Era ‘Remain in Mexico’ Asylum Policy

Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, August 14, 2021

A federal judge in Texas directed the Biden administration on Friday to reinstate the Trump-era policy of requiring asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for their U.S. court hearings, saying the program was illegally terminated.

U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was appointed to the bench by former President Trump, ordered federal officials to revive the so-called Remain in Mexico program until it is “lawfully rescinded” and the government has the detention capacity to hold all asylum-seekers and migrants subject to mandatory detention.

Kacsmaryk delayed the effect of his nationwide ruling by seven days to give the Biden administration time to file an appeal.

In his 53-page opinion, Kacsmaryk said the memo Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued in June to formally end the Remain in Mexico policy violated federal administrative law. Kacsmaryk found that Mayorkas failed to consider the program’s “benefits,” which he said included the deterrence effect the policy had on migrants who don’t qualify for U.S. refuge.

Kacsmaryk also determined the reversal of the Trump-era border policy led the Biden administration to violate a section of U.S. immigration law that mandates the detention of certain asylum-seekers, since there’s currently not enough detention capacity to hold all of them.

Friday’s ruling is a victory for Texas and Missouri, which filed the lawsuit against the suspension of the Remain in Mexico rule, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP.

Kacsmaryk’s ruling found that Texas and Missouri are being harmed by the policy’s reversal because migrants released into the U.S. will use health care services and apply for driver’s licenses, and their children will attend U.S. schools.


Created in late 2018, the Remain in Mexico program was the centerpiece of the Trump administration’s efforts in 2019 to deter migration to the U.S. southern border. Approximately 70,000 non-Mexican asylum applicants were enrolled in the program and returned to Mexico  {snip}