Politico: Say, why is Biden still enforcing Trump's Remain in Mexico policy?

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Good question. Joe Biden and his administration railed repeatedly over Donald Trump’s border policy, and spent the last eighteen months fighting in court to change it. They finally won at the Supreme Court, and … crickets, Politico notices:


Last month, the Supreme Court cleared the way for the Biden administration to unwind a Trump-era policy that has forced thousands of asylum seekers to wait in Mexico, often in dangerous settings, for their U.S. court proceedings.

But having previously moved quickly to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy, the administration has suddenly decided to take its time.

The White House and Department of Homeland Security have been mum on their plans following the Supreme Court’s ruling. Immigration advocates asking about next steps have been met with a similar silence. In that void, a question has emerged: What, exactly, is the hold up?

“The bottom line is they’ve been saying they want to restore a meaningful asylum system. Well, now is their chance to show that they mean it,” said Judy Rabinovitz, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Their hands are no longer tied and as long as they’re no longer tied — they should make good on that promise.”

One has to wonder whether the outcome in Biden v Texas at the Supreme Court last month caught the White House more by surprise than the outcome in Dobbs. In both cases, Biden and his team got caught flat-footed, an inexcusable outcome in Dobbs given the earlier leak and the clear trajectory of oral arguments in December 2021. It’s a bit more excusable here, since at least some people expected the justices to force Biden to start over on the normal APA process.


Instead, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled in a 5-4 decision that Biden had done enough to comply and put his own policies in place. At that time, I wondered whether the White House was prepared for the win — and indeed, whether they even wanted it under the circumstances. After all, the Remain in Mexico policy had at least helped blunt the swarm of migrants that responded to Biden’s campaign promises and initial steps to reverse the Trump policies:

At any rate, Biden and his team now have a carte blanche to end the Remain in Mexico policy. Will they use it? They already are bungling the border crisis that they touched off by promising to end it and to relax asylum rules and penalties. The court rulings gave Biden an easy out in helping him contain the damage, but now he has to choose between his progressive wing and rational policies that will keep the situation from getting even worse than it already is. Based on Biden’s track record, expect him to cave to his progressive wing.

It is fascinating that he hasn’t acted so far to end Remain in Mexico, or even to announce a timeframe for transitioning from it. Both John and Karen wrote yesterday about the political damage Biden’s sustaining from the border crisis as it stands now; Jazz also wrote yesterday about how the migrant crisis in New York City and Washington DC has changed the political tenor of the debate, too. Put that together with the Border Patrol agents going public with their anger and frustration over DHS policies and support, and this doesn’t look like a great time to signal open season on American border security.


Especially since a new report makes it look like open season is already in effect:

More than 500,000 known “gotaway” immigrants have crossed the border into the US but evaded capture since the start of FY 2022, according to a new report.

Multiple senior Department of Homeland Security sources confirmed the number to Fox News on Monday, revealing that there has been an average of more than 55,000 known “gotaways” per month.

“Gotaways” is a commonly used term for illegal immigrants who have been spotted crossing the border by agents or on camera but were not caught or processed by officials.

With less than three months left in the fiscal year, 2022 has already seen a massive increase in the “gotaway” from the previous year after DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified in April that there had been more than 389,000 immigrants who evaded arrest in FY 2021.

With that as background, small wonder Biden’s in no hurry to make changes that will worsen the situation significantly. He can’t wait forever, though; his progressive base expects Biden to deliver on that campaign promise to end Remain in Mexico, no matter how effective it was and how dumb the promise is. If Biden’s lucky, he might be able to wait until after the midterms, but all that does is postpone the inevitable damage that an intensified border crisis will do.



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