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Here’s Why The Biden Administration Hasn’t Scrapped ‘Remain In Mexico’

Jennie Taer//Daily Caller News Foundation

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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UPDATE: This article has been updated to more accurately reflect the range of factors potentially impacting the Biden administration’s decision to keep a key Trump-era immigration policy in place despite a recent Supreme Court ruling.

  • The Biden administration’s indecision on whether to scrap a key Trump-era immigration policy could be because of multiple reasons, including grim midterm prospects and politically entrenched decision makers, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation. 
  • “I think they, especially the career people, not the political people, know that there are some things that will slow people down and MPP is one of them. They probably don’t want to say that publicly,” Democrat Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar told the DCNF.
  • Federation for American Immigration Reform Press Secretary Ron Kovach argued that the Biden administration has already quietly slowed the policy down, making it basically ineffective. 

The Biden administration’s indecision on whether to scrap a key Trump-era immigration policy could be for multiple reasons, including political calculations ahead of the 2022 midterms and certain decisionmakers within the federal government, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

After months of attempts to stop the continuation of the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which is used to expel certain migrants to Mexico as they await immigration proceedings, the Supreme Court granted the Biden administration the authority to do so in a June decision. The Biden administration has yet to end the program and the White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are silent on next steps as they didn’t respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment. (RELATED: As Biden Considers Repealing ‘Remain In Mexico,’ Caravan Of 2,000 Migrants Heads Toward US Border)

One reason the Biden administration hasn’t rescinded the policy could be because additional chaos at the southern border offers few political upsides ahead of the midterms and 2024, American Immigration Lawyers Association Immediate Past President Allen Orr told the DCNF.

“I think the Biden administration is being overly cautious with regards to ending the program as they don’t want to have anything to happen at the southern border that would seem that things were out of control. Politically, that would not be a great thing with the midterms coming up and his approval ratings being so low,” Orr said.

“I also think that he has been working with private and public partnerships to sort of address the immigration issue as we’ve seen an agreement reached with Mexico just a few weeks ago, where they were going to put millions of dollars into helping ensure an orderly border between the United States and Mexico,” he added.

President Joe Biden had a 40% approval rating to cap off his sixth quarter in the oval office, reaching a new historic low, a Friday Gallup poll showed. Moreover, after the Biden administration announced it would end Title 42, another Trump-era policy used to quickly expel illegal aliens, 56% of voters said they opposed the move.

Democrat Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, whose district is along the southern border, agreed that the lack of change is political, he told the DCNF.

“I think they, especially the career people, not the political people, know that there are some things that will slow people down and MPP is one of them. They probably don’t want to say that publicly,” Cuellar said.

“They unfortunately have to follow the instructions that come from the top, and I would say even Secretary Mayorkas understands this and understands that we got to slow down the number of people but you know, everybody gets instructions from higher up places at the White House. So, I think they probably are trying to slow this as much as possible,” he added.

Border authorities have recently seen historic high numbers of migrant crossings, with encounters surpassing 200,000 month after month, according to CBP. The 1,746,119 migrants encountered at the southern border so far this fiscal year is already more than the previous fiscal year’s total encounters.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) expelled 2,097 illegal aliens in June, 2,129 in May and 1,725 in April.

Despite keeping the policy in place, the Biden administration is barely implementing it by expelling low numbers of migrants, Federation for American Immigration Reform Press Secretary Ron Kovach told the DCNF.

“MPP is already dead — the court-ordered relaunch was all for show. Only a few thousand migrants have been enrolled in the program, with most being either released into the country or expelled under Title 42.Border numbers are still through the roof,” Kovach said.

“Nothing will change one way or another once the MPP façade officially ends,” Kovach said.

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