INDIANA – President Joe Biden acted unlawfully when he revoked the Trump administration’s successful policy requiring migrants coming across the southern border to remain in Mexico while awaiting U.S. asylum hearings, Attorney General Todd Rokita said today.
“President Biden clearly failed to consider the negative impact imposed on the states by his rash and ill-conceived action,” Attorney General Rokita said. “The Trump policy worked. It’s a commonsense measure to keep our states safer and our border more secure.”
A U.S. district court already has ruled that the Trump policy — formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — must be reinstated until Biden follows proper legal procedures to change it, including consideration of alternative policies and the impact on states.
Biden’s U.S. Department of Justice, however, has asked a federal appeals court to stay the district court’s injunction pending an appeal.
In an amicus brief joined by 14 other states, Attorney General Rokita argues there is no good reason to delay the district court’s order to reinstate the Trump policy.
“The remain-in-Mexico policy was a reasonable response to the surge of hundreds of thousands of Central American migrants attempting to cross through Mexico into the United States,” Attorney General Rokita said. “The costs of revoking this policy should be obvious to the Biden Administration.”
Before the Trump policy’s implementation, each year thousands of aliens were paroled in the United States while awaiting hearings, Attorney General Rokita notes in his brief. That process often took several years.
More than 30 percent of aliens awaiting a scheduled hearing then failed to appear, betting instead they could remain in the United States illegally and indefinitely. After the introduction of MPP, however, the appearance rates of aliens improved markedly while processing times before the pandemic significantly decreased.
The Trump policy also likely led to an overall reduction of encounters at the border and likely encouraged many asylum seekers without meritorious claims to stay in or return to their countries of origin, the brief notes. These positive changes have lessened the costs imposed by illegal immigration on the states and their citizens.
Without MPP, thousands of illegal aliens would be paroled in the United States while awaiting the outcome of their removal proceedings. This would impose new, sweeping costs on the states in supporting these parolees — not to mention the thousands who would fail to appear and instead choose to remain in the United States illegally.
The brief, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, is attached.