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Federal judge temporarily blocks Biden from ending Trump-era 'Remain in Mexico' policy

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk said he was pausing the administration's termination of the policy until litigation is resolved.
Migrants wait to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in Yuma, Ariz., early on July 11, 2022.
Migrants wait to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol after having illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in Yuma, Ariz., early on July 11. Allison Dinner / AFP - Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday temporarily blocked the Biden administration from ending a Trump-era policy designed to restrict immigration at the southern border.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas said in his decision that he would put on hold termination of the policy that required people seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, primarily from Central America, to wait in Mexico while their claims were decided “until the Court can resolve the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims.”

Kacsmaryk’s ruling is a setback for President Joe Biden, whose administration first sought to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, when he took office in January 2021.

The Supreme Court said in a 5-4 ruling in June that the Biden administration had acted properly in seeking to end the policy, reversing a federal appeals court ruling that rejected a fresh attempt to end the policy in October 2021. The administration was previously forced to reinstate the policy after Texas and Missouri sued.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed suit to block the policy from being lifted, praised the judge's order on Twitter.

"Biden’s open-border agenda won’t survive my legal attacks," Paxton said Thursday.

Immigrant rights groups and opponents of "Remain in Mexico," which is separate from another Trump-era border policy known as Title 42, say it denies people the right to seek protection in the U.S. and forces them to face potentially dangerous circumstances as they await asylum.