IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Biden admin again tells court it wants to end Trump-era 'Remain in Mexico' policy at border

The policy has forced tens of thousands of migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to wait on the Mexican side of the border for their immigration hearings.
Migrants attempt to cross in to the U.S. from Mexico at the border on Oct. 7, 2021 in San Luis, Ariz.
Migrants attempt to cross in to the U.S. from Mexico at the border on Oct. 7, 2021 in San Luis, Ariz.Nick Ut / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration issued a memo on Thursday to tell federal courts for a second time that it wishes to terminate the Trump-era policy known as "Remain in Mexico" that forces migrant asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their U.S. court dates.

Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have already mandated that the Biden administration reinstate the policy and, in compliance with that order, the Department of Homeland Security is working with Mexico to reinstate the policy by mid-November.

The new memo would take effect if the courts lift an injunction mandating the policy's restart, and the senior administration officials hope this memo will be upheld, unlike the one Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued in June.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguably the most conservative in the country, is set to hear oral arguments in the case on Tuesday.

"At the same time we are vigorously fighting that court ruling and issuing this termination memo, the secretary of the department will comply with that court order and will be continuing to take the necessary steps to re-implement [Remain in Mexico]," a senior administration official told reporters on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a caravan of approximately 1,300 to 2,000 mainly Central American migrants is making its way through Mexico to the U.S. border. The Mexican government, which at first clashed violently with the migrants when they entered the country from Guatemala, is issuing humanitarian visas to pregnant women and children. The visas allow its holders to access public services and give them the ability to work, the Mexican government told NBC News.

The Biden administration has continued to defend Title 42, another Trump-era policy that blocks asylum seekers from entering the United States due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 1 million immigrants were subjected to Title 42, meaning they were sent back to Mexico or deported without making their cases for asylum, in fiscal year 2021 — far more than the estimated 70,000 subjected to Remain in Mexico during the same time period.

Immigration advocates have sued the Biden administration over Title 42, arguing it is being used as a law enforcement rather than public health tool.

Migrants heading in a caravan to the U.S. walk towards Mexico City to request asylum and refugee status in Villa Comaltitlan, Chiapas State, Mexico, on Oct. 28, 2021.Isaac Guzman / AFP - Getty Images

Oral arguments in that case are set to start in the D.C. Circuit Court in January.