The Supreme Court today rejected Texas and Missouri’s claims that immigration law requires the Biden administration to continue operating the cruel “Remain in Mexico” policy instituted by the Trump administration.

The policy forcibly returned people who came to the United States and sought asylum under U.S. law to Mexico to wait for an asylum hearing. In practice, most of those hearings never happened, and people were forced to wait for long periods in inhumane conditions and were subjected to kidnapping, rape, and murder on a massive scale.

Matt Segal, legal director at the ACLU of Massachusetts, released the following statement in response:

“This decision does not mean that the U.S. is now fulfilling its obligations to asylum-seekers, and it is a far cry from reckoning with the abuses that the Trump administration visited upon migrants through the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols. But the ACLU of Massachusetts is grateful to know that, for now, this policy will not harm other people in the way it harmed our clients. The Biden administration can and should move forward swiftly to finally terminate ‘Remain in Mexico’ for good — a result that has been long, and unjustly, delayed.”

The “Remain in Mexico” policy has been the subject of ACLU lawsuits since it was first implemented in 2019. The ACLU of Massachusetts challenged the “Remain in Mexico” policy on behalf of six families in a lawsuit filed in March 2020. Before the federal court granted preliminary relief ordering the government to allow the twelve asylum-seekers to enter the U.S., the ACLU of Massachusetts’ clients—which included small children—were stranded in Mexico for between seven and 17 months, experiencing hunger, homelessness, and violence. The ACLU of Massachusetts’ case is currently pending before the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

In 2020 and 2021, two ACLU of Massachusetts’ lawsuits against “Remain in Mexico” reunited seven families and brought 14 asylum-seekers to safety in the U.S.

N.R. M.Z., and F.C., ACLU of Massachusetts clients formerly in MPP, released the following statement in response:

“We came to the United States seeking safety in 2019. Under MPP, we and our young children had to fight daily to survive in dangerous and inhumane conditions, with consequences that have continued to affect our families. We are relieved to know that more families will not have to suffer under this brutal program.”
“Nosotros nos vinimos a los estados unidos buscando seguridad en el 2019. Bajo el MPP, nosotros y nuestros niños pequeños tuvimos que luchar diariamente para sobrevivir en condiciones peligrosas y deshumanas, con consecuencias que siguen afectando a nuestras familias hasta el día de hoy. Estamos aliviados al saber que más familias no tendrán que sufrir bajo este programa tan brutal.”